The Past Has Another Pattern: Memoirs

New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1982. First Edition [Stated], First Printing [Stated]. Hardcover. 24 cm, 527, illus., maps, notes, index, slight wear to spine edges, ink name inside front flyleaf. George Wildman Ball (December 21, 1909 – May 26, 1994) was an American diplomat and banker. He served in the management of the US State Department from 1961 to 1966 and is remembered most as the only major dissenter against the escalation of the Vietnam War. He refused to publicize his doubts, which were based on calculations that South Vietnam was doomed. He also helped determine American policy regarding trade expansion, Congo, the Multilateral Force, de Gaulle's France, Israel and the rest of the Middle East, and the Iranian Revolution. During 1942, he became an official of the Lend Lease program. During 1944 and 1945, he was director of the Strategic Bombing Survey in London. During 1945, Ball began collaboration with Jean Monnet and the French government in its economic recovery in its negotiations regarding the Marshall Plan. During 1950 he helped draft the Schuman Plan and the European Coal and Steel Community Treaty. Ball was the Under Secretary of State for Economic and Agricultural Affairs for the administrations of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. He is known for his opposition to escalation of the Vietnam War. Ball also served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from June 26 to September 25, 1968. During August 1968 at the UN Security Council, he endorsed the Czechoslovaks' struggle against the Soviet invasion and their right to live without dictatorship. During Nixon's administration, he helped draft policy proposals on the Persian Gulf. Derived from a Kirkus review: George Ball--New Deal "dogsbody," Lend-Lease policy-shaper, strategic-bombing investigator, "ardent advocate of liberal trade," international lawyer, Under Secretary of State (1960-66)--was often told by his friend Jean Monnet, he recounts, that he spread himself too thin. But that very absence of driving ambition or a fixed commitment, whatever the cost to a public career, is a godsend in a memoirist: with the events, we get the afterthoughts, the open questions; with the certitudes, the doubts. A less inquiring, less skeptical man would also not have been the only top official to challenge, from day one, American intervention in Vietnam. Ball went to Northwestern and passed into the hands--manna for a shaky ego--of upstart instructor "Benny" De Voto and 18th-century specialist Garrett Mattingly. New Deal Washington was for him, as for others, a moment when "nothing was impossible." Chicago law practice began a 35-year friendship with Stevenson. Lend-Lease planted the idea of "a postwar economic environment" free of the constraints and conflicts of the inter-war period. On the strategic-bombing survey, in a still-armed Reich: "Speer met us in the Great Hall, friendly and self-consciously affable... 'I'm glad you've come,' he said. 'I was afraid I'd been forgotten." There then follows reducing Jean Monnet's visionary ideas of a unified Europe "to coherent expression"; the first exhilarating Stevenson campaign, the "dismal" 1956 anticlimax; the multifarious foreign-policy embroilments of the Kennedy and early Johnson years--the Congo, the Cuban missile crisis, Cyprus, de Gaulle and NATO, the Dominican intervention; LBJ himself; and, in Ball's words: "The Vietnam Aberration"-which may be the finest exposition extant of the refusal to ask "why?" and the reluctance to turn back. When Ball finally left, in late '66, he left quietly--so as not to use his "privileged information" to undercut the US; but that question, too, he throws open to discussion. It's one of the great, examined public lives of our time. Condition: very good.

Keywords: Cold War, WWII, Diplomacy, Cuba, Missile Crisis, United Nations, John F. Kennedy, Nikita Khrushchev, Robert McNamara

ISBN: 0393014819

[Book #23293]

Price: $45.00