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The Irony of American History | [Reinhold Niebuhr]

The Irony of American History

Forged during the tumultuous but triumphant postwar years when America came of age as a world power, The Irony of American History is more relevant now than ever before. Cited by politicians as diverse as Hillary Clinton and John McCain, Niebuhr's masterpiece on the incongruity between personal ideals and political reality is both an indictment of American moral complacency and a warning against the arrogance of virtue.
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Publisher's Summary

Forged during the tumultuous but triumphant postwar years when America came of age as a world power, The Irony of American History is more relevant now than ever before. Cited by politicians as diverse as Hillary Clinton and John McCain, Niebuhr's masterpiece on the incongruity between personal ideals and political reality is both an indictment of American moral complacency and a warning against the arrogance of virtue.

Impassioned, eloquent, and deeply perceptive, Niebuhr's wisdom will cause listeners to rethink their assumptions about right and wrong, war and peace.

©2008 Reinhold Niebuhr; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

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  •  
    Amazon Customer 01-29-10 Listener Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Superlative Book"

    Brilliant. Brilliant. And again I say brilliant. Scintillating insight. Gem-like clarity. Relentless unmasking of illusions. This book is said to be highly admired by President Obama; nevertheless, it is politically uncategorizable. In spite of its brevity, impossible to absorb in one listening/reading. Well read. New introduction.

    Audible is to be applauded for making this book available. How about more by Niebuhr?

    25 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan B Goodman 01-03-11 Member Since 2009
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    "The "Peter Drucker" of Political Science"

    Niebuhr offers amazingly prescient insights highly relevant to today's world from his perch in 1950's America. Just one example: his analysis of the forces that might make a case for and warnings of the likely disastrous consequences of "preemptive war" are just eery with our contemporary back drop of foreign wars. His declarative style is reminiscent of the father of modern management thinking, Peter Drucker. Both thinkers see patterns and the seeds of emerging trends invisible to the rest of us.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Preston D. Hutson Houston, TX USA 03-10-14
    Preston D. Hutson Houston, TX USA 03-10-14 Member Since 2013

    #Attorney, #Aggie, #Photographer, #Runner, father of an #Aspie.

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    "Very dry, uninspired reading . . . ."
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Irony of American History to be better than the print version?

    Drawn from 2 Niebuhr speeches on the ironic contradictions of American Foreign Policy in the face of Communism, the book offers a powerful critique of several pedantic myths underlying that Policy. If, as Andrew Bacevich opines in the introduction, the book is "the most important book ever written on US foreign policy," one might expect its reading to give effect to that power by drawing upon its oral beginnings. Where one might expect the reading to create a sense of intrigue that sends the listener back to the written word for affirmation of Niebuhr's most compelling points, the listener is instead sent scurrying back to the book in a desperate attempt to discern Niebuhr's intended meaning and to ascertain "what's the big deal about this book?"


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    He ruined it, see above.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Very early, Niebuhr explains the ironic similarities with the naivety of Christian idealism and the naivety of Communist thought, which for me, was jaw-droppingly powerful stuff.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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