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George Kennan: A Writing Life
There were two George F. Kennans. The first was the well-known diplomat and ambassador to the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia—a tough political realist and man of the world who gained fame as the theorist of America’s Cold War “containment” strategy. This was a “persona” that Kennan adopted in order to carry out his professional responsibilities. The second, largely unknown, ...more
Hardcover, 225 pages
Published November 1st 2008 by Intercollegiate Studies Institute
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Having studied under Dr. Congdon as an undergrad, I enjoyed this book tremendously, as I enjoyed all of his courses. Reading this was almost like taking another class -- I could hear his voice as I read. I knew very little of Kennan before I read this, but it seems like a good introduction to his life. Obviously he is best known for his diplomatic work with the Soviet Union, but Congdon's book doesn't focus on that. What really struck me over and over was Congdon's descriptions of Kennan as a ...more
Interesting short work on Kennan focused more on his writing and thinking than on his impact on diplomacy. Situates Kennan as a sort of 18th cent. European conservative out of place in modern America. Thought provoking and insightful at times, but might not be a good fit if you don't already know who Kennan is and what role he played in the Cold War period.