In This Review

The Last Brahmin: Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. and the Making of the Cold War
The Last Brahmin: Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. and the Making of the Cold War
By Luke A. Nichter
Yale University Press, 2020, 544 pp.

Through a long, extraordinary career, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., advised five U.S. presidents of both political parties. The first to see the political potential of Dwight Eisenhower, Lodge entered him in the New Hampshire primary without his knowledge and then managed his winning presidential campaign. Lodge served as ambassador to the United Nations from 1953 to 1960, when that position wielded enormous influence, and twice served as ambassador to Vietnam (first in the Kennedy administration and then in the Johnson administration), the toughest job in U.S. foreign policy at the time. Later, under President Richard Nixon, he chaired the Paris peace talks that brought the Vietnam War to an end in 1973. Pointed from childhood toward a career of public service, Lodge embodied the Eastern Establishment. He abhorred memoirs and never wrote his own, although it would have made an important contribution to history, especially regarding Vietnam. Characteristically, he thought he might write an account for posthumous publication “as a matter of duty” but later chose not to. Nichter’s biography goes a long way to correcting Lodge’s omission, filling in the blanks on the life of this fascinating man who played a central role in U.S. foreign policy for more than three decades.