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The Guardians

The Guardians Cover

The Guardians

Kingman Brewster, His Circle, and the Rise of the Liberal Establishment

By Geoffrey Kabaservice

Henry Holt and Co., Hardcover, 9780805067620, 592pp.

Publication Date: April 1, 2004


How liberalism and one of the most dramatic eras in American history were shaped by an influential university president and his powerful circle of friends

Yale’s Kingman Brewster was the first and only university president to appear on the covers of Time and Newsweek, and the last of the great campus leaders to become an esteemed national figure. He was also the center of the liberal establishment—a circle of influential men who fought to keep the United States true to ideals and extend the full range of American opportunities to all citizens of every class and color. Using Brewster as his focal point, Geoffrey Kabaservice shows how he and his lifelong friends—Kennedy adviser McGeorge Bundy, Attorney General and statesman Elliot Richardson, New York mayor John Lindsay, Bishop Paul Moore, and Cyrus Vance, pillar of Washington and Wall Street—helped usher this country through the turbulence of the 1960s, creating a legacy that still survives.

In a narrative that is as engaging and lively as it is meticulously researched, The Guardians judiciously and convincingly reclaims the importance of Brewster and his generation, illuminating their vital place in American history as the bridge between the old establishment and modern liberalism.

About the Author
Geoffrey Kabaservice received a B.A. from Yale, a master's in philosophy from Cambridge University, and a Ph.D. from Yale, where he lectured in the history department. He is currently a manager with the Advisory Board Company and lives in Washington, D.C.

Praise For The Guardians

"Geoffrey Kabaservice has produced a balanced and judicious look at the role played by Kingman Brewster and his establishment friends during the turbulence of the 1960s. Most were Republicans with liberal and reformist instincts. Caught between old-guard conservatives and radical activists, they helped their institutions, and their nation, make the transition from an aristocratic to a more meritocratic system. It is a compelling tale of honorable men, noble ideals and wrenching change." --Walter Isaacson, co-author The Wise Men