The Man in the Middle of the American Century
University of Chicago Press 2017
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in BiographyNew Books in HistoryNew Books in National SecurityNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in PoliticsNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network January 18, 2018 Mark Klobas
As a United States senator in the 1930s and 1940s, Arthur Vandenberg was one of the leading Republican voices shaping the nation’s foreign policy. Though initially a staunch isolationist, as Hendrik Meijer explains in Arthur Vandenberg: The Man in the Middle of the American Century (University of Chicago Press, 2017), Vandenberg eventually became one of the foremost advocates for America’s engagement with the world. As a young man Vandenberg embarked upon a career as a journalist, and soon rose to become the editor of the local newspaper in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Vandenberg’s platform made him a force in state politics, and his editorials enjoyed a national readership among Republican leaders. Appointed to the Senate in 1928, Vandenberg soon made a name for himself for his ability to compromise on legislation, and with the electoral decimation of the party in Congress in the 1930s he emerged as one of its most prominent figures. Meijer details the ways in which Vandenberg used his stature to shape American policy, from his role in the drafting of the United Nations Charter to his involvement in the passage of the Marshall Plan and the treaty that established NATO.