War in a Time of Peace
Bush, Clinton & the Generals
By David Halberstam
(Scribner, Hardcover, 9780743202121, 544pp.)
Publication Date: September 18, 2001
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More than twenty-five years ago Halberstam told the riveting story of the men who conceived and executed the Vietnam War. Today the Pulitzer Prize- winning author has written another unforgettable chronicle of Washington politics, this time exploring the complex dynamics of foreign policy in post-Cold War America.
Halberstam brilliantly evokes the internecine conflicts, the untrammeled egos, and the struggles for dominance among the key figures in the White House, the State Department, and the military. He shows how the decisions of men who served in the Vietnam War -- such as General Colin Powell and presidential advisers Richard Holbrooke and Anthony Lake -- and those who did not have shaped American politics and policy makers (perhaps most notably, President Clinton's placing, for the first time in fifty years, domestic issues over foreign policy).
With his uncanny ability to find the real story behind the headlines, Halberstam shows how current events in the Balkans, Somalia, and Haiti reflect American politics and foreign policy. He discusses the repercussions in Washington on policy makers from two different administrations; the wariness of the American military to become caught again in an inconclusive ground war; the frustrations of civilian advisers, most of whom have never served in the military; and the effects these conflicting forces have on the American commander in Kosovo, GeneralWes Clark.
Sweeping in its scope and impressive in its depth, "War in a Time of Peace" provides fascinating portraits of Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Kissinger, James Baker, Dick Cheney, Madeleine Albright, and others, to reveal a stunning view of modern political America.