Maximalist: America in the World from Truman to Obama

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""From a writer with long and high-level experience in the U.S. government, a lively, provocative, and eminently readable reexamination of American foreign policy, capturing not only its extraordinary achievements but the diplomatic missteps, intellectualconfusion, and political discord from which they usually emerge. American foreign policy since World War II has long been seen primarily as a story of strong and successful alliances, domestic consensus, and continuity from one administration to the next. Why then have so many presidents--even those most admired today--left office condemned for their foreign policy record? In his fresh and compelling history of America's rise to dominance, Stephen Sestanovich makes clear that U.S. diplomacy has always stirred controversy, both at home and abroad. He shows how successive administrations have struggled to find new solutions, alternating between bold ""maximalist"" strategies and retrenchment efforts to downsize America's role. Almost all our presidents--and all their most important decisions, from defeat in Vietnam through victory in the Cold War to today's new challenges--emerge from this vivid retelling in a sharp and unexpected light. ""--