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Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's…

Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet (2004)

by James Mann

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I was on a Cheney kick for a couple of weeks and this is the only book that really stood out to me. Really helps to understand the different personalities the merged to form President W Bush's private 'think tank'. Also the most realistic portrait of Cheney i've read. A little dry, so not perfect but a definite recommendation. ( )
  aeceyton | Aug 18, 2017 |
This is an invaluble book for understanding how we got into Iraq.Follow Cheney and Rumsfeld whose agenda prevailed. They stayed at the juncture of government and private industry, crossing from administration to legislature and in and out of the Nixon,Ford,Reagan, Bush I administrations. Are there similar sleepers in the Obama administration ( )
  carterchristian1 | Mar 24, 2009 |
Book Review

Title: Rise of The Vulcans

Author: James Mann

Who are the Vulcans? They are an inner circle of advisers to G. W. Bush who, over decades in some cases, have a long shared experience in government dating back to Nixon, Ford, Reagan and the first Bush administration.

Because they have been working together in a variety of governmental positions, both high and low, for so long a time, they adopted the name of “Vulcans“, after the Roman god of fire, the forge and metalwork. Donald Rumsfeld’s careers started as a congressional representatives from his home state of Illinois. He brought in a protégé, Richard Cheney. Colin Powell’s start was in the ROTC in college and he rose through the Army’s ranked quickly. Richard Armitage also started with the military at Annapolis and distinguished himself during three tours of duty in Vietnam. Paul Wolfowitz and Condoleeza Rice were academics whose interests and expertise brought them to the attention of governmental and political leaders.

The book “Rise Of The Vulcans” gives a very good account of the backgrounds of these people. Their interest in government, their egos, and their abilities are demonstrated. This book is well documented with footnotes and attributions.

From Cold War detente under Kissinger in the ‘70s to the present posture of “preemptive war” under Bush is a fascinating saga. The current administration’s adventure is problematic. The unilateralist reliance on superpower military might is a departure from previous administrations. The book describes how these attitudinal change came about. I felt that a glaring omission was the large part played by Carl Rove, as the political adviser, and Bush’s heavy reliance on Karen Hughes, in his decision-making.

For a controversially elected President, with no strong mandate, a promise of “compassionate conservatism”, and “NO nation building“, Bush has taken the country into dangerous and expensive territory. How the current tumultuous situation plays out is yet to be seen.
  Swampslogger | Mar 19, 2007 |
A decent, if not great, account of the rise of Bush's administration. ( )
  JBD1 | Jan 18, 2006 |
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Full title (2004): Rise of the Vulcans : the history of Bush’s war cabinet.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0143034898, Paperback)

While campaigning for president in 2000, George W. Bush downplayed his lack of foreign policy experience by emphasizing that he would surround himself with a highly talented and experienced group of political veterans. This core group, consisting of Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Armitage, and Condoleezza Rice, has a long history together dating back 30 years in some cases. Dubbing themselves the Vulcans, they have largely determined the direction and focus of the Bush presidency. In this remarkably researched and fascinating book, Mann traces their careers and the development of their ideas in order to understand how and why American foreign policy got to where it is today.

As Mann makes clear, there has never been perfect agreement between all parties, (the relationship between the close duo of Powell and Armitage on one side and Rumsfeld on the other, for instance, has been frosty) but they do share basic values. Whether they came from the armed services, academia, or government bureaucracy, the Vulcans all viewed the Pentagon as the principal institution from which American power should emanate. Their developing philosophy was cemented after the attacks of September 11, 2001 and is best reflected in the decision to invade Iraq. They believe that a powerful military is essential to American interests; that America is ultimately a force for good despite any negative consequences that may arise from American aggression; they are eternally optimistic about American power and dismiss any arguments about over-extension of resources; and they are skeptical about the need to consult allies or form broad global coalitions before acting.

Rise of the Vulcans succeeds on many levels. Mann presents broad themes such as the gradual transition from the Nixon and Kissinger philosophies to the doctrine espoused by Rumsfeld, Cheney, and the rest in clear and logical terms. He also offers minute details and anecdotes about each of the individuals, and the complex relationships between them, that reveal the true personalities behind the politicians. This is essential reading for those seeking to understand the past quarter century and what it means for America's future. --Shawn Carkonen

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:14 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"When George W. Bush campaigned for the White House, he was such a novice in foreign policy that he couldn't name the president of Pakistan and momentarily suggested he thought the Taliban was a rock-and-roll band." "But he relied upon a group called the Vulcans - an inner circle of advisers with a long, shared experience in government, dating back to the Nixon, Ford, Reagan and first Bush administrations." "After returning to power in 2001, the Vulcans were widely expected to restore U.S. foreign policy to what it had been under George H. W. Bush and previous Republican administrations. Instead, the Vulcans put America on an entirely new and different course, adopting a far-reaching set of ideas that changed the world and America's role in it.". "Rise of the Vulcans is nothing less than a detailed, incisive thirty-five-year history of the top six members of the Vulcans - Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Armitage, and Condoleezza Rice - and the era of American dominance they represent. It is the story of the lives, ideas and careers of Bush's war cabinet - the group of Washington insiders who took charge of America's response to September 11 and led the nation into its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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