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Dean Acheson

A Life in the Cold War
Narrated by: Ben Bartolone
Length: 31 hrs and 32 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Summary

Dean Acheson was one of the most influential Secretaries of State in U.S. history, presiding over American foreign policy during a pivotal era - the decade after World War II when the American Century slipped into high gear. During his vastly influential career, Acheson spearheaded the greatest foreign policy achievements in modern times, ranging from the Marshall Plan to the establishment of NATO.

In this acclaimed biography, Robert L. Beisner paints an indelible portrait of one of the key figures of the last half-century. In a book filled with insight based on research in government archives, memoirs, letters, and diaries, Beisner illuminates Acheson's major triumphs, including the highly underrated achievement of converting West Germany and Japan from mortal enemies to prized allies, and does not shy away from examining his missteps. But underlying all his actions, Beisner shows, was a tough-minded determination to outmatch the strength of the Soviet bloc - indeed, to defeat the Soviet Union at every turn. The book also sheds light on Acheson's friendship with Truman - one, a bourbon-drinking Midwesterner with a homespun disposition, the other, a mustachioed Connecticut dandy who preferred perfect martinis.

Over six foot tall, with steel blue, "merry, searching eyes" and a "wolfish" grin, Dean Acheson was an unforgettable character - intellectually brilliant, always debonair, and tough as tempered steel. This lustrous portrait of an immensely accomplished and colorful life is the epitome of the biographer's art.

©2006 Robert L. Beisner (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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  • A. M.
  • 09-01-16

Good subject, too bad about the rest

Any additional comments?

Verbose, too long, lacks substance, topical mostly, and poor unfeeling quick paced narration makes it a chore to listen to. Too bad, a great history here to tell.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • 11-11-18

Fascinating

Dean Acheson practiced international law and served both FDR and Truman. So far Acheson is considered to be the most outstanding Secretary of State in United States history. Acheson served as Secretary of State from 1949 to 1953. Acheson severed as General George Marshall’s Chief of Staff when he was Secretary of State. The State Department was in a state of chaos after many years of neglect by FDR. General Marshall reorganized the department and moved it out of a Navy building and into its new home. He told Acheson what he wanted and let Acheson do the job. Acheson became SOS when Marshall left the job.

Beisner does an excellent job of presenting an unbiased view of Acheson. The author points out the times when history has proven Acheson correct and when he was wrong. It is a surprise how often he was correct. The issues they had to deal with are just as important today. We could learn a lot about how to deal with the world from following their working guidelines. The book is well written and meticulously researched. I found this book fascinating particularly after reading the biography of Averell Herriman and Steil’s “The Marshall Plan”.

The book is thirty-one hours and thirty-seven minutes or 800 pages. The book was first published in 2006. The book has won many awards. Ben Bartolone did an excellent job narrating the book. Bartolone is an actor and audiobook narrator. This is my first experience listening to him.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jan R Olsen
  • 31-03-16

A Man of Reason

One of the most well written biographies I have ever read. Acheson was a man of reason during very challenging times for our country and the world. Author Beisner did a good job of crafting language that emulate the witty, well spoken and speak-his-mind Acheson himself. Recommended to readers who appreciate writing above the norm and reading about remarkable men.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Long Story
  • 12-12-18

Unsophisticated Reading

Robert L. Beisner's biographical history of Dean Acheson provides few surprises to those who have studied the period, but I think the book would well be worth picking up as a general life story of the political Acheson during the early years of the Cold War.

That said, this was a most unsophisticated reading of the story of a most sophisticated man. Regrettably the narrator presents a reading without nuance or depth. Mr. Bartolone mispronounced words and stumbled in the text. All these flaws detracted from the telling.

Audible offers so many talented readers like Noah Michael Levine, Michael Butler Murray, Jim Frangione, or so many others, I'm puzzled as to why Mr. Bartolone was chosen. An ill-advised decision.

Listeners beware. The story of Dean Acheson, a pivotal character in the history of the Cold War, is worth better.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • RJH500
  • 16-05-18

Great book; mediocre narrator

The book is outstanding. The narrator not so much -- he reads too fast and mispronounces many words -- most frequently "sovereignty," which he always mispronounces as, "soverenity."

(Note to Audible -- Please eliminate the "Story" category for non-fiction books; it is absolutely meaningless.)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful