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When George W. Bush campaigned for the White House, he was such a novice in foreign policy that he couldn't name the president of Pakistan and momentarily suggested he thought the Taliban was a rock-and-roll band. But he relied upon a group called the Vulcans--an inner circle of advisers with a long, shared experience in government, dating back to the Nixon, Ford, Reagan a When George W. Bush campaigned for the White House, he was such a novice in foreign policy that he couldn't name the president of Pakistan and momentarily suggested he thought the Taliban was a rock-and-roll band. But he relied upon a group called the Vulcans--an inner circle of advisers with a long, shared experience in government, dating back to the Nixon, Ford, Reagan and first Bush administrations. After returning to power in 2001, the Vulcans were widely expected to restore U.S. foreign policy to what it had been under George H. W. Bush and previous Republican administrations. Instead, the Vulcans put America on an entirely new and different course, adopting a far-reaching set of ideas that changed the world and America's role in it. Rise of the Vulcans is nothing less than a detailed, incisive thirty-five-year history of the top six members of the Vulcans--Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Armitage, and Condoleezza Rice--and the era of American dominance they represent. It is the story of the lives, ideas and careers of Bush's war cabinet--the group of Washington insiders who took charge of America's response to September 11 and led the nation into its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.Separately, each of these stories sheds astonishing light not only on the formative influences that brought these nascent leaders from obscurity to the pinnacle of power, but also on the experiences, conflicts and competitions that prefigured their actions on the present world stage. Taken together, the individuals in this book represent a unique generation in American history--a generation that might be compared to the "wise men" who shaped American policy after World War II or the "best and brightest" who prosecuted the war in Vietnam. Over the past three decades, since the time of Vietnam, these individuals have gradually led the way in shaping a new vision of an unchallengeable America seeking to dominate the globe through its military power.


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When George W. Bush campaigned for the White House, he was such a novice in foreign policy that he couldn't name the president of Pakistan and momentarily suggested he thought the Taliban was a rock-and-roll band. But he relied upon a group called the Vulcans--an inner circle of advisers with a long, shared experience in government, dating back to the Nixon, Ford, Reagan a When George W. Bush campaigned for the White House, he was such a novice in foreign policy that he couldn't name the president of Pakistan and momentarily suggested he thought the Taliban was a rock-and-roll band. But he relied upon a group called the Vulcans--an inner circle of advisers with a long, shared experience in government, dating back to the Nixon, Ford, Reagan and first Bush administrations. After returning to power in 2001, the Vulcans were widely expected to restore U.S. foreign policy to what it had been under George H. W. Bush and previous Republican administrations. Instead, the Vulcans put America on an entirely new and different course, adopting a far-reaching set of ideas that changed the world and America's role in it. Rise of the Vulcans is nothing less than a detailed, incisive thirty-five-year history of the top six members of the Vulcans--Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Armitage, and Condoleezza Rice--and the era of American dominance they represent. It is the story of the lives, ideas and careers of Bush's war cabinet--the group of Washington insiders who took charge of America's response to September 11 and led the nation into its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.Separately, each of these stories sheds astonishing light not only on the formative influences that brought these nascent leaders from obscurity to the pinnacle of power, but also on the experiences, conflicts and competitions that prefigured their actions on the present world stage. Taken together, the individuals in this book represent a unique generation in American history--a generation that might be compared to the "wise men" who shaped American policy after World War II or the "best and brightest" who prosecuted the war in Vietnam. Over the past three decades, since the time of Vietnam, these individuals have gradually led the way in shaping a new vision of an unchallengeable America seeking to dominate the globe through its military power.

30 review for Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet

  1. 4 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    This is an excellent book. It details a subset of the larger Vulcan group, neocons with a root in the Nixon era. It is best when pointing out the plans that were constructed in the early 90’s, plans in which it is made clear that the twin goals of this crew were to ensure continued access to mideast oil, not so much to ensure cheap supplies, but to ensure secure supplies, and to prevent hostile powers from controlling that resource. The other goal was to spread liberal democracy to the middle ea This is an excellent book. It details a subset of the larger Vulcan group, neocons with a root in the Nixon era. It is best when pointing out the plans that were constructed in the early 90’s, plans in which it is made clear that the twin goals of this crew were to ensure continued access to mideast oil, not so much to ensure cheap supplies, but to ensure secure supplies, and to prevent hostile powers from controlling that resource. The other goal was to spread liberal democracy to the middle east. The notion was that extremism was an outgrowth of the autocratic regimes of the area and installing democracy would remove the source of that extremism. In a sense it was an idealistic notion. James Mann - from his Twitter pages There is also much here about the personal relationships of the various players. It is clear that Colin Powell was never a true insider although he did not exactly stand in the way. His gripe was in form, not substance. The Vulcan orientation was foreign policy. Domestic policy simply did not appear on their radar. Thus they are not factors in the mad tax-cutting of the Bush administration. Much detail here. It clarifies a fair bit. A must read, particularly as the notions embraced by this group are very much alive in powerful elements of our foreign policy establishment, even today. =============================EXTRA STUFF Links to the author’s personal, Twitter, and FB pages

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cwn_annwn_13

    Rise of the Vulcans is more or less combined mini biographies of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Colin Powell, Richard Armitage and Condoleezza Rice. This book is a great sucess if the goal was to make a psychopathic criminal demons in human form out to be semi-normal human beings. According to this book Armitage had nothing to do with Operation Phoenix. It actually claims he had a great love for the Vietnamese people. Which of course is why he went to Vietnam to kill them. Also Co Rise of the Vulcans is more or less combined mini biographies of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Colin Powell, Richard Armitage and Condoleezza Rice. This book is a great sucess if the goal was to make a psychopathic criminal demons in human form out to be semi-normal human beings. According to this book Armitage had nothing to do with Operation Phoenix. It actually claims he had a great love for the Vietnamese people. Which of course is why he went to Vietnam to kill them. Also Colin Powell didn't participate in the coverup of the My Lai massacre or do his part to get America into the quagmire in Iraq by lying through his teeth in front of the United Nations. Cheney was never secretly a high ranking member of the CFR all the while playing the game of being a non globalist political outsider to the voters. Rumsfeld never made the push to make Aspartame legal to put into the food supply and help cause multiple health problems, including cancer in the American people. Hilariously at one point he is actually portrayed as discouraging lying to the public to politicians he worked for. Wolfowitz hasn't been on the fringes trying to goad America into wars with various nations going back to the 1970s. Wolfowitz actually makes that psycho Henry Kissinger look like an anti-war activist. In case you didn't pick up on the random sarcasm interjected in this review it is more or less a mainstream neo-con coverup version of these creeps history.

  3. 5 out of 5

    AC

    A missed opportunity, given the author's unprecedented access -- and one that proved, quite spectacularly, to underestimate their malice and deceptiveness and sheer incompetence. A missed opportunity, given the author's unprecedented access -- and one that proved, quite spectacularly, to underestimate their malice and deceptiveness and sheer incompetence.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    Picked this one up at the library in Bridgman, Michigan a couple of weeks ago and have been reading it, off and on, at the local cafe in the East Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. Unlike all Woodward's current history books, this one offers no startling revelations or insider's secrets. It is more like a regular history book than a piece of journalism. Indeed, Mann probably even wrote it himself. The books covers several themes. First, it is a history of the evolution of Republican foreign poli Picked this one up at the library in Bridgman, Michigan a couple of weeks ago and have been reading it, off and on, at the local cafe in the East Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. Unlike all Woodward's current history books, this one offers no startling revelations or insider's secrets. It is more like a regular history book than a piece of journalism. Indeed, Mann probably even wrote it himself. The books covers several themes. First, it is a history of the evolution of Republican foreign policy administration from Nixon, through Ford, Reagan and the two Bushes. Second, it is a history of the rise of neoconservatism out of the right wing of the Democratic party. Third, it presents professional biographies of its principals: Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Armitage, Rice and Powell. Fourth, it attempts to correct some common misconceptions such as, for instance, the popular beliefs that Colin Powell was a dove in uniform or that Dick Cheney ever turned to the right. Throughout, George W. Bush is in the background, not being a particularly important player as regards the formulation of foreign policy principles or objectives.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Wonderful, insightful, revealing, long-view look at Bush's war cabinet. Reading this after Peter Rodman's "Presidential Command", where Henry Kissinger's former assistant looks at how foreign policy was made in post-WWII America through the lens of process, not character, I found Mann's argument that ideas - and people - matter refreshing . Would love to read another of Mann's books. Not sure, though, if I'm up to he's latest on the falling out between Cheney and Powell quite yet. Wonderful, insightful, revealing, long-view look at Bush's war cabinet. Reading this after Peter Rodman's "Presidential Command", where Henry Kissinger's former assistant looks at how foreign policy was made in post-WWII America through the lens of process, not character, I found Mann's argument that ideas - and people - matter refreshing . Would love to read another of Mann's books. Not sure, though, if I'm up to he's latest on the falling out between Cheney and Powell quite yet.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Carson Stones

    I recently picked this book off my shelf because I had fond memories of it from my neolib days, circa 2010-2012, and I was interested to revisit the early Bush era now that we’re two administrations removed from it. I am sorry to say that not only has this book not aged well, but I’m not certain it was even good back when it was originally published in 2004. The author has this annoying habit of presenting damning evidence that his principle characters - Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, Powell I recently picked this book off my shelf because I had fond memories of it from my neolib days, circa 2010-2012, and I was interested to revisit the early Bush era now that we’re two administrations removed from it. I am sorry to say that not only has this book not aged well, but I’m not certain it was even good back when it was originally published in 2004. The author has this annoying habit of presenting damning evidence that his principle characters - Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, Powell, and Armitage - were not only wrong in their predictions but also fabricated evidence to launch a disastrous military crusade, only to follow those allegations up with rhetorical questions like: “was this wrong? Who can say?” My principle criticism is that the entire book feels like a build up to the 2nd Iraq War - why did we invade? Who was calling the shots? How did they get into those positions and what motivated their decision making?- and the moment the story reaches that point, the author decides to abruptly end the book. He spends hundreds of pages telling this compelling story about the rise of the neo-conservative foreign policy establishment who came of age in the traumatic years after Vietnam and personally oversaw the defeat of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War, and the first Iraq war. His thesis is that the worldview of “The Vulcans” (a term that never really stuck and wasn’t well defined in my opinion), was formed during the period 1968-1991 and was tested and pushed to the limits from 2001-2003. And even though he spends all this time supposedly building up to the obvious climax of Mission Accomplished and the subsequent and obvious failure of everything their worldview predicted, he just... let’s them off the hook. With all the interviews and research he did, the evidence was clear and the story drives itself to the natural conclusion - so nail their ass to the wall! They were wrong about everything and history will not be kind to them. A better author would have thrust the dagger in using the weight of his own evidence, but James Mann simply refused to do it and I’m not going to spend any more time thinking about why he didn’t.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nina

    Explains so much about the Iraq War. I finally understand how America adopted preemptive war as a strategic doctrine. This book made me hugely sympathetic to Colin Powell, who seems like the only reasonable Vulcan. Mann's comparison between Powell and Zhou Enlai really explained the whole dynamic quite well. I'm infinitely less sympathetic to Condolezza Rice after reading about her role in the 2002 NSS, her attitude toward Clinton's Russia policy, and the leadership role she played in Bush II's Explains so much about the Iraq War. I finally understand how America adopted preemptive war as a strategic doctrine. This book made me hugely sympathetic to Colin Powell, who seems like the only reasonable Vulcan. Mann's comparison between Powell and Zhou Enlai really explained the whole dynamic quite well. I'm infinitely less sympathetic to Condolezza Rice after reading about her role in the 2002 NSS, her attitude toward Clinton's Russia policy, and the leadership role she played in Bush II's foreign policy team. Cheney, Wolfowitz, and Rumsfeld remain tools, in that order.

  8. 4 out of 5

    The American Conservative

    'And of all the books so far, James Mann’s work on “the Vulcans”—while not as charmingly salacious, politically angry, and gut-personal as the Bob Woodward, Paul O’Neill, and Richard Clarke books—is a particularly valuable contribution, perhaps one that will come to stand as The Best and the Brightest of the Iraq War. Its value lies not only in the consummate fairness of the author’s judgments (sometimes too fair, actually) but in the fact that Mann roves back in history meticulously and conscie 'And of all the books so far, James Mann’s work on “the Vulcans”—while not as charmingly salacious, politically angry, and gut-personal as the Bob Woodward, Paul O’Neill, and Richard Clarke books—is a particularly valuable contribution, perhaps one that will come to stand as The Best and the Brightest of the Iraq War. Its value lies not only in the consummate fairness of the author’s judgments (sometimes too fair, actually) but in the fact that Mann roves back in history meticulously and conscientiously to pull out the skeletons of these new foreign-policy ideologies of the Bush team and examine their DNA.' Read the full review, "Bush's Six-Pack," on our website: http://www.theamericanconservative.co...

  9. 5 out of 5

    James

    Mann gives a full picture of thirty years of conservative thought on foreign policy through 6 people. It's not quite his fault that three of these people (Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz) are unredeemable opportunistic monsters who change their opinions on nearly every subject to satisfy their massive egos. However, the monstrousness of these three men makes it incredibly difficult to figure out what Mann might say about the goals and aims of conservative thought, so he settles on a general war- Mann gives a full picture of thirty years of conservative thought on foreign policy through 6 people. It's not quite his fault that three of these people (Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz) are unredeemable opportunistic monsters who change their opinions on nearly every subject to satisfy their massive egos. However, the monstrousness of these three men makes it incredibly difficult to figure out what Mann might say about the goals and aims of conservative thought, so he settles on a general war-like disposition, a "Vulcan" mentality. It's a noble effort, and does throw a strange light on the less monstrous members of the Cabinet. Rice, Powell, and Armitage seem to be committed bureaucrats trying to get some stuff done among the chaos of the Republican Party's lies and misdirections over the past thirty years. It's not a surprise that their more measured, pragmatic voices were overwhelmed by the other three, and the whole story offers a pessimistic kind of allegory for what success means in the modern Republican party in Washington: being loud and forceful with no clear plan, ignoring all normal operating principles, relishing the chance to dunk on opponents, etc.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michael Solomentsev

    Very thoroughly researched book. Really got a better perspective on these folks. My biggest problem is that Mann seems unable to acknowledge the obvious - that the Vulcans weren't necessarily sincere in their beliefs. I think this really mars the book as a whole, because Mann is basically forced to portray them as being almost naive in their belief of the value of 'spreading democracy'. These guys are clearly some evil fuckers, so Mann's inability to criticize them is a clear flaw. Very thoroughly researched book. Really got a better perspective on these folks. My biggest problem is that Mann seems unable to acknowledge the obvious - that the Vulcans weren't necessarily sincere in their beliefs. I think this really mars the book as a whole, because Mann is basically forced to portray them as being almost naive in their belief of the value of 'spreading democracy'. These guys are clearly some evil fuckers, so Mann's inability to criticize them is a clear flaw.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Emilly

    This is the best book to read if you want an unbiased take on the Iraq war. The author goes back all the war to the Vietnam war and Richard Nixon, so you really do learn about the people who made one of the most consequential decisions.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Monica Flannel

    Excellent and informative. A well researched and documented book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    My foreign policy view is radically altered after reading Mann's book. My foreign policy view is radically altered after reading Mann's book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rajesh Kurup

    Excellent, engaging book about the cast that led us to the disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mann's strength is that he provides a non-partisan background to the people and the times that influenced them. When W was elected, I felt that he had picked the perfect team to settle the problems of the 70s. Many of his team had experience in the Nixon and Ford administration. Mann points out that, in fact, their backgrounds actually began even earlier in Vietnam. It was the reaction to the reac Excellent, engaging book about the cast that led us to the disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mann's strength is that he provides a non-partisan background to the people and the times that influenced them. When W was elected, I felt that he had picked the perfect team to settle the problems of the 70s. Many of his team had experience in the Nixon and Ford administration. Mann points out that, in fact, their backgrounds actually began even earlier in Vietnam. It was the reaction to the reactions to Vietnam that pushed the neocons to become so extremely hawkish. As he points out, the common view, typified by was that America was in decline after Vietnam. As a result, Kissinger pushed for detante with Russia and China. The Vulcans countered by wanting to make America's military so strong that there would be no other conceivable threats. Even after the fall of the Soviet Union, they pushed an agenda to kill off the idea of a "peace dividend." Rather than downscale the military once the US became the only superpower, keep spending levels high so that no other country could emerge as a competitor. It's interesting that the background begins in the late 60s through the Iraq war of the 2000s. That period is dominated by Republican presidents with the exception of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Since Clinton didn't appreciably downsize the military, this long extended rule allowed the Vulcans to get the US military to the current state in which the US has a military budget equal to that of all other nations combined. Thanks, guys.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sean Sullivan

    The best book on the personalities that made up the first Bush term, and believe me, I have read a bunch of them. All the Woodward books and other beltway books of the season come and go, but Mann’s book I think will be seen as the best contemporary accounting of the personalities from the first terms( Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Ashcroft, Powell, Armitage, Wolfowitz, etc, etc) that you’re going to find. This is obvious a book that is highly critical of all the figures in that presidency, but not th The best book on the personalities that made up the first Bush term, and believe me, I have read a bunch of them. All the Woodward books and other beltway books of the season come and go, but Mann’s book I think will be seen as the best contemporary accounting of the personalities from the first terms( Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Ashcroft, Powell, Armitage, Wolfowitz, etc, etc) that you’re going to find. This is obvious a book that is highly critical of all the figures in that presidency, but not the propagandistic way other books are. Mann is harsh, but fair and does an especially good job of explaining what the hell neoconservatives actually is* and the really nasty hatred between the Cheney people and the Powell people. Even after however many years, this is still essential reading for political junkies. *Now a days we all know, but when this came out, and I read it, I think the term was thrown around a lot by people who didn’t really understand its meaning.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Marius

    Interesting and neutral (perhaps overly so) summary of the historical movements of the group of people who became instrumental in orchestrating the Iraq war and the philosophies they used to justify it. Seeing their actions as a continuous thread of history is the book's strongest point, bridging the Cold War and connecting it with the ideological pre-emptive strike mentality that dominated the foreign policy of the Bush II administration. I understand the need for a neutral viewpoint, but I do w Interesting and neutral (perhaps overly so) summary of the historical movements of the group of people who became instrumental in orchestrating the Iraq war and the philosophies they used to justify it. Seeing their actions as a continuous thread of history is the book's strongest point, bridging the Cold War and connecting it with the ideological pre-emptive strike mentality that dominated the foreign policy of the Bush II administration. I understand the need for a neutral viewpoint, but I do wish the author would have gone into deeper possible critiques of the Vulcans' self-justified and aggressive world view. In particular, their naivete in assuming Iraqis would embrace the invasion and simplified assumptions of an end game is touched on very lightly. An examination of the mixing of political and business interests of Bush, Cheney etc. is also absent.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Aupke

    James Mann completes a thorough review of the rise to power of all of the most influential and prominent members of President G.W. Bush's war cabinet. Ending the book with an analysis of the decision to invade Iraq in 2003, Mann analyzes the members seperately in the positions they take before, during and after the conflict, comparing their actions to the philosophies they espoused during their political careers. One open ended point that Mann should consider revisiting is the eventual success o James Mann completes a thorough review of the rise to power of all of the most influential and prominent members of President G.W. Bush's war cabinet. Ending the book with an analysis of the decision to invade Iraq in 2003, Mann analyzes the members seperately in the positions they take before, during and after the conflict, comparing their actions to the philosophies they espoused during their political careers. One open ended point that Mann should consider revisiting is the eventual success of the Bush cabinet to meet its goal of influencing societal movement toward democracy in the Middle East through its toppling of Saddam Hussein and the recent Arab Spring that may be attributed to it. A well written read with curious nuances that pique interest in further research.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shea Mastison

    The Presidency of George Bush is quite likely too recent to assess on any macroscopic level. It was a total rupture with the Cold War era, and the heady days of "post-historical" Clintonian America. The paradigm shift itself was made all the more extraordinary by the men and women who happened to define American foreign policy after 9/11. This is an excellent examination of that group, termed "the Vulcans" by Mann. He dissects their ideological base (or subsequent lack of one) while explaining t The Presidency of George Bush is quite likely too recent to assess on any macroscopic level. It was a total rupture with the Cold War era, and the heady days of "post-historical" Clintonian America. The paradigm shift itself was made all the more extraordinary by the men and women who happened to define American foreign policy after 9/11. This is an excellent examination of that group, termed "the Vulcans" by Mann. He dissects their ideological base (or subsequent lack of one) while explaining the circumstances in which they were put to practice. If modern history is your thing, check this book out.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Marty

    Great background on how and why our government and country is in the mess it is currently in around the world, of course with special attention to Iraq and the Middle East. Great background information on Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, Powell, Armitage, and others. It is important to know who the advisers to the next President will be....what do they stand for; how do they see the world. (By the way, did you know the Rumsfeld was a white house "aid" during Nixon years---and he was against the vietna Great background on how and why our government and country is in the mess it is currently in around the world, of course with special attention to Iraq and the Middle East. Great background information on Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, Powell, Armitage, and others. It is important to know who the advisers to the next President will be....what do they stand for; how do they see the world. (By the way, did you know the Rumsfeld was a white house "aid" during Nixon years---and he was against the vietnam war!!!)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Benj FitzPatrick

    This in depth look of Condi, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Armitage, Cheney, and Powell moved chronologically from the 60s until 2004. If nothing else, it cemented how closely intertwined their careers were from the 70s onward. Aside from this central point, the comparison between their cold-war policies and the post-9/11 ones were fascinating. It was a bit of a slow read b/c the story hopped between the 6 at each time point. I think this was the optimal approach, but it fragmented each person's story li This in depth look of Condi, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Armitage, Cheney, and Powell moved chronologically from the 60s until 2004. If nothing else, it cemented how closely intertwined their careers were from the 70s onward. Aside from this central point, the comparison between their cold-war policies and the post-9/11 ones were fascinating. It was a bit of a slow read b/c the story hopped between the 6 at each time point. I think this was the optimal approach, but it fragmented each person's story line and made tying an individual's accomplishments a bit difficult.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    This is an excellent look at the movers and shakers of President Bush's war room. The interconnections between these (mostly) men and their ties to the Nixon and Reagan administrations should leave everyone well aware of how these people operate. I thought it was a great read, and worth looking into to get a better understanding of our current foreign policy situation. This is an excellent look at the movers and shakers of President Bush's war room. The interconnections between these (mostly) men and their ties to the Nixon and Reagan administrations should leave everyone well aware of how these people operate. I thought it was a great read, and worth looking into to get a better understanding of our current foreign policy situation.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Stamell

    Rise of the Vulcans is the fascinating story of how George, Condi, Colin, Dick, Rummy, Paul and the rest of the Ladies and Gents who managed to destroy America's prestige in the world post 9/11 are intertwined. It is a scary portrayal of their rise to power and of the neo-con agenda both pre and post 9/11. Rise of the Vulcans is the fascinating story of how George, Condi, Colin, Dick, Rummy, Paul and the rest of the Ladies and Gents who managed to destroy America's prestige in the world post 9/11 are intertwined. It is a scary portrayal of their rise to power and of the neo-con agenda both pre and post 9/11.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Ceyton

    I was on a Cheney kick for a couple of weeks and this is the only book that really stood out to me. Really helps to understand the different personalities the merged to form President W Bush's private 'think tank'. Also the most realistic portrait of Cheney i've read. A little dry, so not perfect but a definite recommendation. I was on a Cheney kick for a couple of weeks and this is the only book that really stood out to me. Really helps to understand the different personalities the merged to form President W Bush's private 'think tank'. Also the most realistic portrait of Cheney i've read. A little dry, so not perfect but a definite recommendation.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Remo

    Fantastic book! I rarely re-read books, but this one I came back to. James Mann is a terrific author, extremely engaging, and he really brings to life a multi-biography of key foreign policy makers. I recommend this to anyone itnerested in foreign policy and how we got into the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rich

    If you have ever seen the television show "Frontline," this is like "Frontline" in print. . .very educational. A really good companion piece, or maybe prologue book, to Bob Woodward's State of Denial. If you have ever seen the television show "Frontline," this is like "Frontline" in print. . .very educational. A really good companion piece, or maybe prologue book, to Bob Woodward's State of Denial.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brian Kronborg

    Interesting but somehow unfulfilled. Written in 2004 it has been overtaken by histore by now. And I'm a but disappointed that while the six biographies are very interesting - especially the piece on Richard Armitage, all six disappear into the background as soon as Bush is appointed president. Interesting but somehow unfulfilled. Written in 2004 it has been overtaken by histore by now. And I'm a but disappointed that while the six biographies are very interesting - especially the piece on Richard Armitage, all six disappear into the background as soon as Bush is appointed president.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dan X. Barton

    A very good overview of the lunatics who got us into Iraq and the one smart guy who tried to keep us out.

  28. 4 out of 5

    bennett

    very insightful look into W's foreign policy team, and why we are where we are. If you hate W now, you'll hate everyone else around him when you're finished with this book. very insightful look into W's foreign policy team, and why we are where we are. If you hate W now, you'll hate everyone else around him when you're finished with this book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Najeeb Hanoudi

    it is a very interesting history of the neocoservatives

  30. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    shows the strong history and relationship between the key powers of government and will scare the heck out of you

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