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The Forty Years War

The Rise and Fall of the Neocons, from Nixon to Obama

The Forty Years War
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In this groundbreaking book, renowned investigative writers Len Colodny and Tom Shachtman chronicle the little-understood evolution of the neoconservative movement—from its birth as a rogue insurgency in the Nixon White House through its ascent to full and controversial control of America's foreign policy in the Bush years, to its repudiation with the election of Barack Obama in 2008. In eye-opening detail, The Forty Years War documents the neocons' four-decade campaign to seize the reins of American foreign policy: the undermining of Richard Nixon's outreach to the Communist bloc nations; the success at halting détente during the Ford and Carter years; the uneasy but effectual alliance with Ronald Reagan; and the determined, and ultimately successful, campaign to overthrow Saddam Hussein—no matter the cost.

Drawing upon recently declassified documents, hundreds of hours of interviews, and long-obscured White House tapes, The Forty Years War delves into the political and intellectual development of some of the most fascinating political figures of the last four decades. It describes the complex, three-way relationship of Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, and Alexander Haig, and unravels the actions of Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, and Paul Wolfowitz over the course of seven presidencies. And it reveals the role of the mysterious Pentagon official Fritz Kraemer, a monocle-wearing German expatriate whose unshakable faith in military power, distrust of diplomacy, moralistic faith in American goodness, and warnings against "provocative weakness" made him the hidden geopolitical godfather of the neocon movement. The authors' insights into Kraemer's influence on protégés such as Kissinger and Haig—and later on Rumsfeld and the neocons—will change the public understanding of the conduct of government in our time.

Both a work of courageous journalistic investigation and a revisionist history of U.S. foreign policy, The Forty Years War is a must-read for anyone interested in America's standing in the world—yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

HarperCollins; December 2009
512 pages; ISBN 9780061959448
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