Gordon Goldstein’s Lessons in Disaster (Holt, 2008) is a remarkable and very relevant book. The author spent more than a year working with an icon from the second half of the twentieth century, McGeorge Bundy, as he struggled to compose his memoirs. Bundy was one of the most influential figures in a postwar generation of smart, energetic, confident, well-born men who transformed universities, politics, and foreign policy in Cold War America. As Goldstein explains, Bundy was the central character in David Halberstam’s rueful parable of The Best and the Brightest. He was one of the Masters of the Universe who brought the United States into a terribly self-defeating and enormously destructive war in Vietnam. Readers today might naturally wonder about the parallels with the architects of the twenty-first century wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the investment strategies and corporate management philosophies that brought the world economy to its knees.
|By: Jeremi Suri Sunday January 10, 2010 2:00 pm|