Zbig coverAs our reviewers note, of all the members of the small set of people who have combined distinguished scholarship and a stint as a top policy-maker, Zbigniew Brzezinski is the least studied, especially in comparison to George Kennan and Henry Kissinger. Indeed, the volume under review is the first to be devoted to him, his thinking, and his role in government. Part of the reason is that at the time and for some years after, the Carter Administration seemed like a failure, and a fairly uninteresting one at that. But, as is so often the case, the judgment of history tends to be counter-cyclical and scholars are attracted both to revisionism and to areas that have not been adequately covered. More careful and perhaps less angry scholarship, combined with a reaction to the performance of more recent presidents, have made the Carter administration appear more interesting, balanced, and successful. New material also explains increased scholarly attention: Brzezinski’s weekly memos to President Jimmy Carter, in addition to many other papers, are available at the Carter library.

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