The Last Brahmin: Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. and the Making of the Cold War

The Last Brahmin: Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. and the Making of the Cold War

by Luke A. Nichter
The Last Brahmin: Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. and the Making of the Cold War

The Last Brahmin: Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. and the Making of the Cold War

by Luke A. Nichter


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The first biography of a man who was at the center of American foreign policy for a generation, The Last Brahmin “sheds insight into the evolving politics of the 20th century.” (Library Journal)

“Comprehensive, . . . dramatic.”—Gerald J. Russello, Wall Street Journal

Few have ever enjoyed the degree of foreign-policy influence and versatility that Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. did—in the postwar era, perhaps only George Marshall, Henry Kissinger, and James Baker. Lodge, however, had the distinction of wielding that influence under presidents of both parties. For three decades, he was at the center of American foreign policy, serving as advisor to five presidents, from Dwight Eisenhower to Gerald Ford, and as ambassador to the United Nations, Vietnam, West Germany, and the Vatican.
Lodge’s political influence was immense. He was the first person, in 1943, to see Eisenhower as a potential president; he entered Eisenhower in the 1952 New Hampshire primary without the candidate’s knowledge, crafted his political positions, and managed his campaign. As UN ambassador in the 1950s, Lodge was effectively a second secretary of state. In the 1960s, he was called twice, by John F. Kennedy and by Lyndon Johnson, to serve in the toughest position in the State Department’s portfolio, as ambassador to Vietnam. In the 1970s, he paved the way for permanent American ties with the Holy See. Over his career, beginning with his arrival in the U.S. Senate at age thirty-four in 1937, when there were just seventeen Republican senators, he did more than anyone else to transform the Republican Party from a regional, isolationist party into the nation’s dominant force in foreign policy, a position it held from Eisenhower’s time until the twenty-first century.
In this book, historian Luke A. Nichter gives us a compelling narrative of Lodge’s extraordinary and consequential life. Lodge was among the last of the well‑heeled Eastern Establishment Republicans who put duty over partisanship and saw themselves as the hereditary captains of the American state. Unlike many who reach his position, Lodge took his secrets to the grave—including some that, revealed here for the first time, will force historians to rethink their understanding of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300217803
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 09/22/2020
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 1,066,577
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Luke A. Nichter is a professor of history and James H. Cavanaugh Endowed Chair in Presidential Studies at Chapman University. He coedited (with Douglas Brinkley) the New York Times bestselling book The Nixon Tapes: 1971–1972.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part I The Making of a Brahmin

1 Early Life 7

2 First Political Steps 29

3 U.S. Senate 42

Part II The Making of an Internationalist

4 World War II 55

5 Return to the Senate 76

6 Drafting Ike 96

7 A Lodge-Kennedy Rematch 120

Part III The Eisenhower Years

8 The UN (1953-1957) 133

9 The UN (1957-1960) 155

10 The i960 Campaign 170

Part IV The Kennedy Years

11 Saigon 189

12 Diem 212

13 A Coup 237

Part V The Johnson Years

14 Lodge for President 263

15 LB J and Vietnam 288

16 West Germany and 1968 310

Part VI The Nixon and Ford Years

17 The Paris Peace Talks 323

18 Envoy to the Vatican 335

Retirement and Epilogue 345

Appendix: President Ngo Dinh Diem's Handwritten Notes, November 1, 1963 353

Notes 357

Bibliography 449

Acknowledgments 495

Index 499

Illustrations follow page 182

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