The Irony of American History

The Irony of American History

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a€œ[Niebuhr] is one of my favorite philosophers. I take away [from his works] the compelling idea that therea€™s serious evil in the world, and hardship and pain. And we should be humble and modest in our belief we can eliminate those things. But we shouldna€™t use that as an excuse for cynicism and inaction. I take away . . . the sense we have to make these efforts knowing they are hard.a€a€”President Barack Obama Forged during the tumultuous but triumphant postwar years when America came of age as a world power, The Irony of American History is more relevant now than ever before. Cited by politicians as diverse as Hillary Clinton and John McCain, Niebuhra€™s masterpiece on the incongruity between personal ideals and political reality is both an indictment of American moral complacency and a warning against the arrogance of virtue. Impassioned, eloquent, and deeply perceptive, Niebuhra€™s wisdom will cause readers to rethink their assumptions about right and wrong, war and peace. a€œThe supreme American theologian of the twentieth century.a€a€”Arthur Schlesinger Jr., New York Times a€œNiebuhr is important for the left today precisely because he warned about Americaa€™s tendencya€”including the lefta€™s tendencya€”to do bad things in the name of idealism. His thought offers a much better understanding of where the Bush administration went wrong in Iraq.a€a€”Kevin Mattson, The Good Society a€œIrony provides the master key to understanding the myths and delusions that underpin American statecraft. . . . The most important book ever written on US foreign policy.a€a€”Andrew J. Bacevich, from the Introduction. . . The most important book ever written on US foreign policy.a€a€”Andrew J. Bacevich, from the Introduction

Title:The Irony of American History
Author:Reinhold Niebuhr
Publisher:University of Chicago Press - 2010-01-22


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