“Fulbright was erudite and eloquent in all the books he wrote, but this one is his masterpiece. Within its pages lie his now historic remonstrations against a great nation’s overreach, his powerful argument for dissent, and his thoughtful propositions for a new way forward . . . lessons and cautions that resonate just as strongly today.”
—From the foreword by Bill Clinton
Fulbright drew on his extensive experience in international relations to write The Arrogance of Power, a sweeping critique of American foreign policy, in particular the justification for the Vietnam War, Congress’s failure to set limits on it, and the impulses that gave rise to it. This book—with its solid underpinning the idea that “the most valuable public servant, like the true patriot, is one who gives a higher loyalty to his country’s ideals than to its current policy,”—was published in 1966 and sold four hundred thousand copies. The book remains “an invaluable antidote to the official rhetoric of government,” as the New York Times called it, fifty years after its first publication.
About the Author
J. William Fulbright was, at the time he wrote The Arrogance of Power, serving his fourth term in the Senate and was Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Under Fulbright’s leadership the committee conducted extensive inquiries into American policy in Vietnam, America’s relations with China, and America’s relations with North Atlantic allies. The Arrogance of Power is based on ideas Fulbright put forth famously at a series of lectures at Johns Hopkins University in the spring of 1966.