The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris
In The Icarus Syndrome, Peter Beinart tells a tale as old as the Greeks -- a story about the seductions of success. Beinart describes Washington on the eve of three wars -- World War One, Vietnam, and Iraq -- three moments when American leaders decided they could remake the world in their image. Each time, leading intellectuals declared that history was over, and the spre...more
I enjoyed this book. Beinart has composed a meaty examination of the United States's foreign policy priorities. From Wilsonian principles to the more recent errant forays of the Bush administration, Beinart makes brilliant use of historical detail and analogy ...more
The premise is that most of the catastrophic decisions were the outcome of leaders and thinkers learning a lesson from their short term history and applying it in the wrong context or in a radically different scales. Thus, the U.S timeline is a wave of buildup of confidence in an approach, until tha ...more
"When liberals remarked in horror that genocide wsa occurring in 1994, they were assuming that 1994 would be better than 1944.... Arthur Schlesinger and Reinhold Niebuhr had not assumed that 1944 would naturally be better than 1904. They had not assumed that history only marched one way."
"I am well aware that the unanticipated consequences of ideas and acts are often very different from what ...more
The style is very engaging. It is easy to stay interested and finish.
Of it until he got to president bush. I just felt like the whole time he was writing about him he wanted to scream "It's his fault!" I also felt he really spent a lot of time talking about Bush and spent very little time on Clinton. Granted this author mentions he's a liberal at the onset.
I always enjoy a policy/foreign affairs book. This was a good recap and fairly well written.