The Last Brahmin Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. and the Making of the Cold War Luke A. Nichter

Publication date:
22 Sep 2020
Yale University Press
544 pages: 235 x 156 x 37mm
31 b-w illus.
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The first biography of a man who was at the center of American foreign policy for a generation

For three decades, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. was at the center of American foreign policy, serving as adviser to five presidents, from Dwight Eisenhower to Gerald Ford, and ambassador to the United Nations, Vietnam, and West Germany. He hailed from a distinguished American family with a record of public service that began in the Washington administration. The experience of World War II—when Lodge became the first sitting senator since the 1860s to resign his seat for military service—dramatically transformed him from isolationist to internationalist, and the Cold War tested his faith in democracy and its ability to project its system of values abroad. Lodge was among the last of his kind: the well-heeled Eastern Establishment Republicans who put duty over partisanship and saw themselves as the hereditary captains of the American state. Using previously unexamined material, historian Luke A. Nichter recounts, for the first time, Lodge’s extraordinary and consequential life.

Luke A. Nichter is professor of history at Texas A&M University–Central Texas. He is the New York Times best-selling coauthor (with Douglas Brinkley) of The Nixon Tapes: 1971–1972.

“Equal parts statesman and public servant, Lodge sacrificed personal ambition for the good of his country. The Last Brahmin is a worthy endeavor to honor a distinguished figure.”—Henry A. Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State

”Combining vast research with a stylish narrative, Luke Nichter reminds us why Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., his life synonymous with the American Century, remains the best in the best and the brightest."—Richard Norton Smith, author of On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller

"'A nineteenth-century figure dropped into the high-level politics of the more visceral twentieth century.' Luke Nichter in his meticulously researched biography not only gets Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. right. He also brilliantly captures the mismatch between Lodge's patrician persona and the low morass—namely America's Vietnam War—into which he sank. A scholarly yet highly readable tour de force."—Niall Ferguson, author of Kissinger, 1923-1968: The Idealist.

"Luke Nichter, one of America’s leading young historians, restores Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. to his central place in mid-20th-century U.S. history, in shaping both America’s constructive internationalism and its tragic intervention in Vietnam. The Last Brahmin is an impressive achievement."—Thomas A. Schwartz, author of Henry Kissinger and American Power: A Political Biography