§ion=&combo2=&text1=&text2=&SocNetUsername=&SocNetPassword=&authCode=& 7th Decade Thoughts: February 2010

7th Decade Thoughts

Thoughts about books, politics and history (personal and otherwise), pictures I've taken and pictures I've edited.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Hawk and the Dove by Nicholas Thompson

The Hawk and the Dove was a subject that interested me--the Cold War and George Kennan whom I always liked. I had negative view of Paul Nitze and looked forward to the contrast between him and Kennan.

The book was much more complex than the title would suggest. It's an excellent history. Because Baker is Nitze's grandson, he had access to papers who one else had seen. Some from family sources. Then, at the end of the book, Baker recounts going to visit the school Nitze founded (Paul H Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins) on a Saturday. He mentioned Nitze's papers to a janitor and the janitor said "Follow me." He expected to be taken to the 6th floor where the papers were stored, but they got off on the 4th floor where the janitor showed him a store of about 50 old dusty boxes in a closet. They were indeed Nitze papers which evidently no one else but the janitor knew about.

Thompson presents both Nitze and Kennas as extremely complex people who responded differently sometimes and the same sometimes to current issues. Kennan was the intellectual; Nitze, the man of action, both obviously extremely intelligent and totally dedicated to service to their country. They were within a couple of years of each other in age and both lived approximately 100 years, Nitze a bit less and Kennan lived to be 101!

Anyone with interest in the Cold War shouldn't miss this book.