The arrogance of power

by J. W. Fulbright

Paperback, 1966

Call number



New York, NY: Random House, 1966.


"Fulbright was erudite and eloquent in all the books he wrote, but this one is his masterpiece. Within its pages lie his now historic remonstrations against a great nation's overreach, his powerful argument for dissent, and his thoughtful propositions for a new way forward . . . lessons and cautions that resonate just as strongly today." - From the foreword by Bill Clinton J. William Fulbright (1905-1995), a Rhodes scholar and lawyer, began his long career in public service when he was elected to serve Arkansas's Third District in Congress in 1942. He quickly became a prominent member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where he introduced the Fulbright Resolution calling for participation in an organization that became the United Nations. Elected to the Senate in 1944, he promoted the passage of legislation establishing the Fulbright exchange program, and he served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1959 to 1974, longer than any senator in American history. Fulbright drew on his extensive experience in international relations to write The Arrogance of Power, a sweeping critique of American foreign policy, in particular the justification for the Vietnam War, Congress's failure to set limits on it, and the impulses that gave rise to it. The book-with its solid underpinning the idea that "the most valuable public servant, like the true patriot, is one who gives a higher loyalty to his country's ideals than to its current policy"-was published in 1966 and sold 400,000 copies. The New York Times called it "an invaluable antidote to the official rhetoric of government." Enhanced by a new forward by President Bill Clinton, this eloquent treatise will resonate with today's readers pondering, as Francis O. Wilcox wrote in the original preface, the peril of nations whose leaders lack ""the wisdom and the good judgment to use their power wisely and well.… (more)





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