Cover image for The colonel : the life and wars of Henry Stimson, 1867-1950
The colonel : the life and wars of Henry Stimson, 1867-1950
Hodgson, Godfrey.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Knopf : Distributed by Random House, 1990.
Physical Description:
402 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


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Material Type
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Item Holds
E748.S883 H63 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
E748.S883 H63 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Presenting the lectures delivered at the Institute, this volume attempts to unify a broad variety of microscopic collisional processes that are often treated in isolation, or apparently that have very little to do with one another. Divided into three sections, the contributions address scattering processes with photons and electrons as projectiles, non-adiabatic scattering processes and adiabatic processes in molecular scattering. A biography of the warrior and diplomat who was the founding father of the American foreign-policy establishment and who, for almost 50 years, was near the center of American power, alternately wielding it himself or in the confidence of those who did. Originally published by Knopf in 1990. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Paralleling the rise of American global preeminence was the rise of Henry Stimson. At the age of 20, he and a camping companion were spared an attack during a last gasp of the Indian wars; as an elder statesman of 78, he made all the key decisions to use the atom bomb on Japan. In the interval, his resume included an education at Holy Trinity of Andover, Yale and Harvard, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York (then as now a political launching pad), secretary of war under Taft, governor-general of the Philippines, secretary of state under Hoover, and, finally, war secretary under FDR. Such a career leaves behind a copious record of diaries and documents, through which Hodgson--a veteran British observer and writer of the American scene--crisply navigates. One recurring theme he wraps into the narrative is the character of the East Coast "aristocracy" that guided the U.S. to the center of the twentieth century. This is expressed through Stimson's personality, a combination of self-confident superiority, aloofness, reticence, and moral rectitude. Hodgson skillfully buttresses his major points with anecdotes and quotations, effecting a persuasive display of the art of historical portraiture. For all but the smallest libraries. Bibliography; to be indexed. ~--Gilbert Taylor

Publisher's Weekly Review

Henry L. Stimson was secretary of war under Taft, governor-general of the Philippines under Coolidge, secretary of state under Hoover and secretary of war again under FDR. The atom bombs were built and dropped under Stimson's supervision and authority. Born two years after Lincoln's assassination, he was brought up in the code of the Victorian gentleman, unashamedly elitist and dead certain that American world leadership was essential. He was also the living link between the foreign policies of 19th-century U.S. imperialism and the Cold War era. In his last act in public life, in 1947, he proposed the internationalization of nuclear technology in the hope that the Soviet Union could be persuaded not to start an arms race. The public figure as well as the private man are richly delineated in this elegant, learned biography, which offers deep insight into the process by which the U.S. emerged from the periphery of world events to the center of global power. Hodgson is the author of All Things to All Men. Photos . (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Stimson has few equals in American history. As Secretary of War on two occasions (1911-13, 1940-45) and Secretary of State (1929-33), Stimson's record is matched only by Timothy Pickering. He was at the seat of events from the ``rise to world power'' to the enshrinement of the Republic triumphant in 1945. He was intimate, insofar as such a reserved individual could be, with everyone who was anyone, from Theodore Roosevelt to Harry S. Truman. Yet despite his achievements and his voluminous papers, this work is only the second attempt at a personal assessment since Elting E. Morison's ``official'' biography ( Turmoil and Tradition, LJ 9/15/60). But if this new biography fills in some essential gaps and places Stimson within his historical context, it is also prolix, disapprobationary, and smacks more of journalistic muckraking than historical scholarship.-- J.K. Sweeney, South Da kota State Univ., Brookings (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Henry Lewis Stimson, "both a Puritan and a warrior," according to Hodgson, lived a life in the public eye that bridged nearly 50 years. He preceded the first Rosevelt and survived the second. He capped his career in the wake of the decision to use the atomic bomb on Japan. Hodgson has written a carefully crafted biography but, in his effort to provide depth, he delves so far into background material that he nearly loses his main character. Moreover, in certain cases he relies on outdated secondary source materials. Hodgson also fails to cover the process of Stimson's conversion to proponent of the use of force, not sanctions, to curb the aggressors. One of the most poignant scenes in the book is Stimson's meetings with FDR in late 1944 concerning the atomic bomb. Stimson apparently passed on the opportunity to discuss "whether and how the bomb should be used against Japan. . ." and instead focused on the Manhattan Project's degree of secrecy from Britain, France, and the USSR. FDR died without having considered these weighty questions with Stimson. This biography will supplement but not supplant Elting E. Morison's Turmoil and Tradition; A Study of the Life and Times of Henry L. Stimson (1960). Excellent illustrations; no bibliography. All levels. -C. W. Haury, Piedmont Virginia Community College