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The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American…
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The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris

by Peter Beinart

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Apparently the war to end all wars was really a misnomer. As if the slaughter of over 75m in the two world wars was not lesson enough, it was followed in quick succession by the Korean War, Vietnam, Gulf War and now the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. The author is trying to examine if this is hubris taken to it's extreme with the eagle soaring towards the sun and trying to reach it. Is the apogee of American Intellectualism defined by it's capacity to foment war (in foreign lands of course), thereby inviting the inevitable backlash?
  danoomistmatiste | Jan 24, 2016 |
Apparently the war to end all wars was really a misnomer. As if the slaughter of over 75m in the two world wars was not lesson enough, it was followed in quick succession by the Korean War, Vietnam, Gulf War and now the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. The author is trying to examine if this is hubris taken to it's extreme with the eagle soaring towards the sun and trying to reach it. Is the apogee of American Intellectualism defined by it's capacity to foment war (in foreign lands of course), thereby inviting the inevitable backlash?
  kkhambadkone | Jan 17, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061456462, Hardcover)

In "The Icarus Syndrome", Peter Beinart tells a tale as old as the Greeks - a story about the seductions of success. In dazzling color, he portrays three extraordinary generations: The Progressives who took America into World War I, led by Woodrow Wilson, the lonely preacher's son who for a moment became the closest thing to a political messiah the world has ever seen. The Camelot intellectuals who led America into Vietnam - men like General Maxwell Taylor, who quoted Thucydides in the original Greek, and Lyndon Johnson, who awoke screaming at the terror of being thought weak. Finally, George W. Bush and the post-cold war conservatives, who believed they could bludgeon the Middle East and liberate it at the same time. In each case, like Icarus, these leaders crafted wings - a set of ideas about the world. They flapped carefully at first, but as they flew higher they gradually lost their inhibitions until, giddy with success, they flew into the sun. And in each case, new leaders and thinkers found wisdom in pain. They reconciled American optimism-our belief that anything is possible - with the realities of a world that will never fully bend to our will, which is what Barack Obama and a new generation of Americans must do today...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:19 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A century of unwise American military adventures is probed in this perceptive study of foreign policy over-reach from Woodrow Wilson's "hubris of reason" to George W. Bush's "hubris of dominance." In each case, Beinart finds a dangerous confluence of misleading experience and untethered ideology.… (more)

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