Magic and mayhem

Book Cover
Average Rating
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster,
Pub. Date:
2010.
Language:
English
Description
AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ are the latest in a string of blunders that includes Vietnam and an unintended war with China from 1950 to ’53, those four fiascoes being just the worst moments in nearly a lifetime of false urgencies, intelligence failures, grandiose designs, and stereotyping of enemies and allies alike. America brought down the Soviet empire at the cold war’s most dangerous juncture, but even that victory was surrounded by myths, such as the conviction that we can easily shape the destinies of other people. Magic and Mayhem is a strikingly original, closely informed investigation of two generations of America’s avoidable failures. In a perfectly timed narrative, Derek Leebaert reveals the common threads in these serial letdowns and in the consequences that await. He demonstrates why the most enterprising and innovative nation in history keeps mishandling its gravest politico-military dealings abroad and why well-credentialed men and women, deemed brilliant when they arrive in Washington, consistently end up leading the country into folly. Misjudgments of this scale arise from a pattern of self-deception best described as "magical thinking." When we think magically, we conjure up beliefs that everyone wants to be like us, that America can accomplish anything out of sheer righteousness, and that our own wizardly policymakers will enable gigantic desires like "transforming the Middle East" to happen fast. Mantras of "stability" or "democracy" get substituted for reasoned reflection. Faith is placed in high-tech silver bullets, whether drones over Pakistan or helicopters in Vietnam. Leebaert exposes these magical notions by using new archival material, exclusive interviews, his own insider experiences, and portraits of the men and women who have succumbed: George Kennan, Henry Kissinger, Robert McNamara, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and Presidents Kennedy, Carter, and George W. Bush all appear differently in the light of magic, as do wise men from Harvard, Georgetown, Stanford, and think tanks such as RAND and Brookings, as well as influential players from the media and, occasionally, the military, including General David Petraeus as he personifies the nation’s latest forays into counterinsurgency.

Magic and Mayhem offers vital insights as to how Americans imagine, confront, and even invite danger. Only by understanding the power of illusion can we break the spell, and then better apply America’s enduring strengths in a world that will long need them.

More Details
ISBN:
9781439125717
9781439125694
Also in this Series
More Like This
Reviews from GoodReads
Loading GoodReads Reviews.
Staff View

Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID ef14e351-421c-f3cc-c65b-9a6943c28877
full_title magic and mayhem
author leebaert derek
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2017-08-17 04:59:11AM

Solr Details

_version_ 1576421374620073984
accelerated_reader_interest_level
accelerated_reader_point_value 0
accelerated_reader_reading_level 0
author Leebaert, Derek.
author-letter Leebaert, Derek.
author_additional Derek Leebaert.
author_display Leebaert, Derek
availability_toggle_arlington Available Now, Entire Collection
available_at_arlington Central
callnumber-a E840
callnumber-first E - United States History
callnumber-subject E - United States History
callnumber_sort_arlington 327.73 LEEBA
collection_arlington Adult Nonfiction
date_added 2011-01-26T05:00:00Z
days_since_added 2400
detailed_location_arlington Central Adult Nonfiction
display_description As the nation commits itself to a renewed military effort in Afghanistan, Georgetown foreign relations professor Leebaert explains why we have so often stumbled in our foreign policy. He analyzes the follies and failures of "emergency men," the political appointees, intellectuals, and policy entrepreneurs of the national security establishment, from the Best and Brightest architects of the Vietnam debacle to the neo-con masterminds of the Iraq War.
edition 1st Simon & Schuster hardcover ed.
format_arlington Book
format_boost 10
format_category_arlington Books
grouping_category book
id ef14e351-421c-f3cc-c65b-9a6943c28877
isbn 9781439125694, 9781439125717
item_details ils:.b13142641|.i14925424|Central Adult Nonfiction|327.73 LEEBA|||1|false|false|||||On Shelf|Aug 16, 2017|can||
itype_arlington Hardback
language English
language_boost 10
language_boost_es 1
lexile_score -1
lib_boost_arlington 50
literary_form Non Fiction
literary_form_full Non Fiction
local_callnumber_arlington 327.73 LEEBA
local_callnumber_exact_arlington 327.73 LEEBA
local_callnumber_left_arlington 327.73 LEEBA
local_days_since_added_arlington 2400
num_holdings 1
oclc (OCoLC)419815371
owning_library_arlington Arlington Public Library, Aurora Hills, Central, Cherrydale, Columbia Pike, Connection Crystal City, Detention Center, Glencarlyn, Local History, Plaza, Shirlington, Westover
owning_location_arlington Central
physical 336 p. ; 24 cm.
popularity 2
primary_isbn 9781439125717
publishDate 2010
publishDateSort 2010
publisher Simon & Schuster,
rating 2.5
rating_facet oneStar, twoStar
record_details ils:.b13142641|Book|Books|1st Simon & Schuster hardcover ed.|English|Simon & Schuster,|2010.|336 p. ; 24 cm.
recordtype grouped_work
scope_has_related_records a, arlington, c, d, g, h, o, p, s, u, v, w
scoping_details_arlington ils:.b13142641|.i14925424|On Shelf|On Shelf|false|true|true|false|false|true|999|||
subject_facet United States -- Foreign relations -- 1945-1989, United States -- Foreign relations -- 1989-, United States -- Foreign relations -- Philosophy, United States -- Foreign relations administration
table_of_contents Sources of magic -- Emergency men -- The mystique of American management -- Star power -- A world to be labeled, not understood -- Myths of history -- We'll show them the light -- Conclusion: Finding our better angels.
target_audience Adult
target_audience_full Adult
title Magic and mayhem
title_display Magic and mayhem
title_full Magic and mayhem / Derek Leebaert
title_short Magic and mayhem
title_sort magic and mayhem