In This Review

The American Way of Strategy: U.S. Foreign Policy and the American Way of Life
The American Way of Strategy: U.S. Foreign Policy and the American Way of Life
By Michael Lind
Oxford University Press, 2006, 304 pp

The growing body of literature that grounds discussion of U.S. foreign policy in a deep knowledge of U.S. history receives a distinguished and provocative addition with Lind's new book. Lind's encyclopedic knowledge of U.S. history and extraordinary grasp of the intellectual history of U.S. politics qualify him to write with great authority and insight about the development of American grand strategy from the Washington administration to the present day, and this generally levelheaded and balanced book will significantly enhance Lind's reputation in foreign policy circles. The book's value goes far beyond the relevance of its policy prescriptions, or even of Lind's own views on what "the American way of strategy" actually is. For the rising generation of foreign policy analysts, this book is an important guide to the intellectual preparation that can equip them for the careers they hope to pursue. Lind's formulation of the purpose of American grand strategy -- "to defend the American way of life by means that do not endanger the American way of life" -- may not lead as quickly or as clearly as he hopes to a greater national consensus over what, at a given moment, the U.S. government should actually do. Nevertheless, his insistence that U.S. history is an indispensable guide for American strategy is a point well worth making as the country grapples with the uncertainties of a dangerous time.