Richard G. Lugar, Statesman of the Senate: Crafting Foreign Policy from Capitol Hill

John T Shaw, Author
John T. Shaw. Indiana Univ., $28 (280p) ISBN 978-0-253-00193-1
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Open Ebook - 278 pages - 978-0-253-00711-7
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In this well-researched account, Shaw (The Ambassador: Inside the Life of a Working Diplomat) offers an admiring record of the work of Sen. Richard Lugar, two-time chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, focusing on how he has influenced foreign policy. Spending little time on Lugar’s background, Shaw focuses on the senator’s interests and actions during his three decades in the Senate, ranging from the Nunn-Lugar program to control nuclear weapons to his interest in agriculture and America’s role in ending the global food crisis. Attention is also given to Lugar as a truly bipartisan politician; while a lifelong and loyal Republican, he has worked with Democrats throughout his career, including such liberals as Barack Obama, and has famously argued with hard-line Republicans like Jesse Helms on matters of foreign policy. Shaw was granted five years of special access to Lugar and his work, and the admiration the author has is palpable, although not so much that it clouds the work. Shaw succumbs to occasional fawning descriptions of Lugar (“a man of prose and pragmatism rather than poetry and abstraction”), but diligently points out weaknesses in Lugar’s career, particularly what many view as his failure to speak up against the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Despite this and other legislative disappointments, Shaw gives a convincing description of Lugar’s “considerable legislative legacy.” (Mar.)
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