The Obamians is the definitive analysis of the events, ideas, personalities, and conflicts that have defined Obama’s foreign policy.
When Barack Obama took office, he brought with him a new group of foreign policy advisors intent on carving out a new global role for America in the wake of the Bush administration’s war in Iraq. Now the acclaimed author of Rise of the Vulcans offers a definitive, even-handed account of the messier realities they’ve faced in implementing their policies.
In The Obamians, acclaimed author James Mann tells the compelling story of the administration’s struggle to enact a coherent and effective set of policies in a time of global turmoil. At the heart of this struggle are the generational conflicts between the Democratic establishment - including Robert Gates, Hillary Clinton, and Joseph Biden - and Obama and his inner circle of largely unknown, remarkably youthful advisors, who came of age after the Cold War had ended.
Written by a proven master at elucidating political underpinnings, even to the politicians themselves, The Obamians is a pivotal reckoning of this historic president and his inner circle and of how their policies may or may not continue to shape America and the world.
James Mann, previously Beijing bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times, is author-in-residence at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. He is the author of Rise of the Vulcans, About Face, and Beijing Jeep.
©2012 James Mann (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“To Mann, an Obama-led America has tried to tell the world what it stands for, as well as what it’s against. His foreign policy has had some notable successes, from the airtight secrecy before launching the raid that killed Osama bin Laden to intervening in Libya without making a lasting American commitment. According to Mann, Obama’s goal of ‘rebalancing’ American foreign policy has largely succeeded, creating a relatively positive footing for ‘an era when American primacy is no longer taken for granted.’” (Publishers Weekly)
“Mann offers historic perspective on US foreign policy through the Cold War era, Vietnam War, Reagan presidency, and current war on terrorism. Drawing on interviews with hundreds of prominent government officials, Mann offers a behind-the-scenes look at policy deliberations in the White House, Pentagon, State Department, and CIA as foreign policy is debated in the context of domestic issues and geopolitics and US policy adjusts to the reality of limited resources.” (Booklist)
“Writing about a topic as abstruse as foreign policy, Mann avoids getting bogged down in wonky detail and crafts an absorbing narrative as much about the personalities as the policy itself. This book is for serious and thoughtful readers of any political persuasion looking for in-depth information on Obama’s foreign policy thus far.” (Library Journal)
This book does for Obama's foreign policy what Jeffrey Toobin's "The Oath" does for the Supreme Court under the Obama administration. It provides a contextualized account of not only the final decisions of the White House, and not only of the internal deliberations and disagreements between key players leading to those decisions, but also the historical context from which those arguments arose.
For example: The author, in discussing the range of foreign policy views, spends a few paragraphs to walk the listener through the history of how Vietnam effected the views of the Democratic party, what the role of decision makers has been in those arguments, and how those arguments effected the internal deliberations of the White House.
The book effectively brings the reader through the first 3 1/2 years or so of the Obama White House, including every major foreign policy event that occurred in that time. This is one of the gems that future historians will find invaluable in building a history of the Obama White House. An excellent read.
"The Obamians" is a Washington inside look at the people and politics shaping the foreign policy of Obama's first three years in office. It describes the evolution of the Democratic Party's foreign policy from the Vietnam War through the Clinton era up to Obama. This history is one of the best parts of the book. For people in the beltway, the names and bios will also be of interest, but I doubt that others will care for the play-by-plays. The narrator is also reasonably good--dry, perhaps, but effective at keeping listeners' interest. The greatest weakness of the audiobook is more structural: the fact that most of the actual reporting is for between 2-3 years of the Obama presidency--not a huge amount of time to collect details and observe patterns. On the whole, however, I would recommend this audiobook or the text version.
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