The Irony of American History

By Reinhold Niebuhr,

Book cover of The Irony of American History

Book description

Forged during the tumultuous but triumphant postwar years when America came of age as a world power, "The Irony of American History" is more relevant now than ever before. Cited by politicians as diverse as Hillary Clinton and John McCain, Niebuhr's masterpiece on the incongruity between personal ideals and political…

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Why read it?

1 author picked The Irony of American History as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Niebuhr, a theologian active in the Cold War, experienced a resurgence in popularity after then-Senator Barack Obama listed him as his favorite theologian. Much of this interest had to do with the desire for a more restrained US foreign policy but I was drawn to what he had to say about the impact of faith on politics.

In this book he discusses the significance of faith-based ideals in America’s struggle with the Soviet Union and how our naivete turned “virtue into a vice.” This aligned with my interest in the unintended effects of infusing religion into international relations; in fact,…

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