The Wages of Globalism: Lyndon Johnson and the Limits of American Power

Paperback | March 1, 1997

byH. W. Brands

not yet rated|write a review
One episode dominates the memory of Lyndon Johnson's presidency: the Vietnam War. The war has so darkened Johnson's reputation that it is difficult for many to recall his policies in a positive light-- especially his foreign policy. Now historian H.W. Brands offers a fresh look at Johnson'shandling of international relations, putting Vietnam in the context of the many crises he confronted and the outdated policies of global containment he was expected to uphold. The result is a fascinating portrait of a master politician at work, maneuvering through a series of successes that made hisultimate failure in Vietnam all the more tragic. In The Wages of Globalism, Brands conducts a witty and insightful tour through LBJ's foreign policy--a tour that begins in Washington, runs through Santa Domingo, Nicosia, and Jakarta, and ends in Saigon. He opens with a thoughtful portrayal of the tense, often fruitful relationship between thedomineering Johnson and his advisers--Dean Rusk, Robert McNamara, George Ball, Clark Clifford, Walt Rostow--as he picked up Kennedy's legacy and sought to make it his own. Leaving Vietnam for the end, Brands presents the various crises with all the force the White House felt at the time: theDominican intervention, India impending famine and war with Pakistan, the coup against Sukarno in Indonesia, France's departure from NATO's unified command, the threat of fighting between Greece and Turkey over Cyprus, the Six Day War, and the worry that Germany might acquire nuclear weapons. Ineach, Brands captures the uncertainty in Washington and the conflicting advice that Johnson received. The picture that emerges is remarkably positive, revealing the president's ability to pick his way through fierce complexities. He forcefully stopped a war over Cyprus; handled de Gaulle withequanimity and skill; and--over the objections of all his advisers--intentionally delayed shipping grain to famine-threatened India, creating a real momentum for agricultural reform in that country that ultimately led to self-sufficiency. Only in Vietnam did Johnson's sure balance of determinationand judgment break down: worried about his domestic program and the need to stand firm against aggression, he let his determination run away with him. "In 1947," H.W. Brands writes, "Truman made a bad bargain with history." By the time Johnson inherited the White House, it had become painfully clear that America was no longer supreme in the world, able to prop up the status quo worldwide. In this fascinating, behind-the- scenes account, Brandsshows how skillfully Johnson steered the nation into the new era--until, in Southeast Asia, politics and his own personality led him into the ultimate trap of the Truman Doctrine.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$73.95

Ships within 1-3 weeks
Ships free on orders over $25

From Our Editors

For a quarter-century, the shadow of Vietnam has so darkened Lyndon Johnson's reputation in foreign affairs that it has been difficult for historians to appreciate what he did right. Now H. W. Brands offers a fresh look at Johnson's handling of international relations, putting Vietnam in the context of the many crises he confronted and...

From the Publisher

One episode dominates the memory of Lyndon Johnson's presidency: the Vietnam War. The war has so darkened Johnson's reputation that it is difficult for many to recall his policies in a positive light-- especially his foreign policy. Now historian H.W. Brands offers a fresh look at Johnson'shandling of international relations, putting...

H.W. Brands is Professor of History, Texas AandM University. His books on American foriegn policy include The Devil We Knew, Bound to Empire, and Inside the Cold War.

other books by H. W. Brands

The All New Ball Book Of Canning And Preserving: Over 350 Of The Best Canned, Jammed, Pickled, And…
The All New Ball Book Of Canning And Preserving: Over 3...

Paperback|May 31 2016

$23.73 online$27.95list price(save 15%)
What We All Long For
What We All Long For

Paperback|Dec 27 2005

$20.94 online$21.00list price
The General Vs. The President: Macarthur And Truman At The Brink Of Nuclear War
The General Vs. The President: Macarthur And Truman At ...

Hardcover|Oct 11 2016

$35.82 online$40.00list price(save 10%)
see all books by H. W. Brands
Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 9.13 × 5.98 × 0.79 inPublished:March 1, 1997Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195113772

ISBN - 13:9780195113778

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of The Wages of Globalism: Lyndon Johnson and the Limits of American Power

Reviews

Extra Content

From Our Editors

For a quarter-century, the shadow of Vietnam has so darkened Lyndon Johnson's reputation in foreign affairs that it has been difficult for historians to appreciate what he did right. Now H. W. Brands offers a fresh look at Johnson's handling of international relations, putting Vietnam in the context of the many crises he confronted and the outdated policies of global containment he inherited. The result is a fascinating portrait of a master politician at work, maneuvering through a series of successes that, ironically, help explain his great failure in Vietnam.

Editorial Reviews

"perceptive, well-researched, and written in a sprightly and occasionally over-the-top style" Melvin Small, The International History Review