Reviews for Brothers : John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War


Booklist Reviews 2013 October #1
An author tending toward criticism of American foreign affairs (Overthrow, 2006), Kinzer casts a jaundiced eye on siblings who conducted them in the 1950s. Framing his assessment as a dual biography of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and CIA director Allen Dulles, Kinzer roots their anti-Communist policies in their belief in American exceptionalism and its Wilsonian application to promote democracy in the world. Less abstractly, the Dulles brothers were politically connected Wall Street lawyers, servants of corporate power, according to Kinzer. Their personalities, however, were starkly different. John Foster was serious-minded and maritally faithful. Gregarious Allen was a serial cheater. With such character portraits as backdrop, Kinzer arraigns the Dulles brothers' operations against several countries. Detailing American actions in Iran, Guatemala, Indonesia, and Cuba, Kinzer crafts a negative perspective on the legacy of the Dulles brothers, whom he absolves slightly from blame because their compatriots widely approved of their providential sense of America's role in world affairs. A historical critique sure to spark debate. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 May #1
Longtime foreign correspondent Kinzer (International Relations/Boston Univ.; Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America's Future, 2010, etc.) portrays the dark side of Dwight D. Eisenhower's administration through the activities of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and his brother Allen, the director of the CIA. The author reveals the pair's responsibility for the wave of assassinations, coups and irregular wars during Eisenhower's administrations as the outcome of three generations of their family's involvement in America's increasingly active foreign policy, and he documents the way the brothers created the political shape of the Cold War in the 1950s, with John Foster providing the arrogant and pompous public face for the covert operations organized by brother Allen. Kinzer also shows how Eisenhower's knowledge of the costs of open war between states led him to support their covert operations to "strike backā€¦to fight, but in a different way." The author discusses John Foster's assimilation of the undeclared war against Soviet communism into a Manichaean framework of the eternal struggle of good vs. evil. He also examines how, during the 1930s, he was seen by some as "the chief agent for the banking circles which rescued Hitler from the financial depths." Later, Allen recruited Nazi leaders to help shape postwar Europe against the Soviets during the war's final stages. For Kinzer, the brothers epitomized the presumption that America has the right to "guide the course of history" because it is "more moral and farther-seeing than other countries." In addition to providing illuminating biographical information, the author clearly presents the Dulles family's contributions to the development of a legal and political structure for American corporations' international politics. A well-documented and shocking reappraisal of two of the shapers of the American century. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Reviews 2013 May #1

Award-winning foreign correspondent Kinzer uses Wild West mythology--with the good guys gunning down the bad guys in a lawless town--to explain the policies of Cold War Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and his brother, CIA director Allen Dulles.

[Page 60]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 November #2

Born into Eastern establishment privilege, these two men strode into the uppermost strata of the U.S. government with a virulent anti-communist bent that infused US foreign policy during the Cold War. The siblings were temperamental opposites. Foster was a social misfit and one-woman man who memorized biblical passages, while his younger brother, Allen, was a libertine with a taste for servants and prone to fits of debauchery. But brotherly camaraderie is tangential here as Kinzer (Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America's Future), an award-winning journalist, focuses squarely on how the men became architects of the emerging superpower. Restrained from their most ambitious foreign adventures under the Truman administration, their fortunes changed when the next president, Dwight Eisenhower, appointed Foster to lead the State Department and Allen the CIA. Consumed by their quest to avert Soviet domination across the globe, their fingerprints were all over some of the most sordid episodes of the Cold War: bringing down duly elected governments in Guatemala and Iran; sowing the seeds of the Vietnam War; assassinating Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba; and attempting to overthrow Fidel Castro. This approachable history is a candid appraisal of how the Dulles's grandiose geopolitical calculations set in motion events that continue to reverberate in American foreign policy today. (Oct.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

Born into Eastern establishment privilege, these two men strode into the uppermost strata of the U.S. government with a virulent anti-communist bent that infused US foreign policy during the Cold War. The siblings were temperamental opposites. Foster was a social misfit and one-woman man who memorized biblical passages, while his younger brother, Allen, was a libertine with a taste for servants and prone to fits of debauchery. But brotherly camaraderie is tangential here as Kinzer (Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America's Future), an award-winning journalist, focuses squarely on how the men became architects of the emerging superpower. Restrained from their most ambitious foreign adventures under the Truman administration, their fortunes changed when the next president, Dwight Eisenhower, appointed Foster to lead the State Department and Allen the CIA. Consumed by their quest to avert Soviet domination across the globe, their fingerprints were all over some of the most sordid episodes of the Cold War: bringing down duly elected governments in Guatemala and Iran; sowing the seeds of the Vietnam War; assassinating Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba; and attempting to overthrow Fidel Castro. This approachable history is a candid appraisal of how the Dulles's grandiose geopolitical calculations set in motion events that continue to reverberate in American foreign policy today. (Oct.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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