AN AMERICAN ADVENTURE

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AN AMERICAN ADVENTURE
From Early Aviation through Three Wars to the White House
  • ISBN/SKU: 9781591148272
  • Binding: Hardcover & eBook
  • Era: 20th century
  • Number of Pages: 336
  • Subject: Autobiography
  • Date Available: January 2012
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Full Description:

A memoir of extraordinary scope, William Lloyd Stearman's reminiscences will attract those interested in early aviation, World War II in the Pacific, life as a diplomat behind the Iron Curtain, the Vietnam War, and the ins and outs of national security decision making in the White House. Stearman begins with a description of his childhood as the son of aviation pioneer Lloyd Stearman. He then covers his naval combat experiences in the Pacific War and later struggles as one of the Navy's youngest ship captains. Following graduate school, he moved to the front lines of the Cold War and writes about his life as a diplomat who negotiated with the Soviets, spent nine years in Berlin and Vienna, and was director of psychological operations against North Vietnam. His reflections on seventeen years with the National Security Council at the White House are of special interest.

Key revelations include:

  • How the U.S. almost made dangerous concessions on Berlin in 1959 because of a false belief that the “missile gap” had given the Soviets strategic superiority.
  • How the Western Powers failed to predict the Berlin Wall in 1961.
  • How the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis resulted from the Kennedy-Khrushchev summit in 1961.
  • How Nelson Mandela was brought to power by the South African Communist Party.
  • How the U.S. lost the Vietnam War and why it was winnable.
  • How the U.S. actually won a strategic victory in Southeast Asia despite the loss of Vietnam.
  • How Gorbachev's miscalculations brought down the Soviet Empire and the Soviet Union.

William Lloyd Stearman became a Foreign Service officer after serving in the Navy during World War II and was stationed in Austria, Germany, and Vietnam. He then spent a 17-year career in the White House on the NSC staff and was an adjunct professor of international affairs at Georgetown University. He lives in Bethesda, MD.

Praise for An American Adventure

“An American Adventure is a very informative, even entertaining work, offering much that historians of naval operations in the Second World War, Cold War historians, students of the Vietnam experience, and those interested in more recent foreign policy and national security studies will find of value. It offers a valuable “view from the trenches” perspective complementing (and counterpointing) other memoirs of notable Cold Warriors such as Paul H. Nitze’s From Hiroshima to Glasnost.One leaves this work thankful that its author took the time and effort to write it, and that others-particularly Dr. Stephen T. Hosmer of The RAND Corporation-encouraged his literary efforts, steering him to the Naval Institute Press (which is to be commended for publishing what is, overall, an unusually fine and fascinating book).”

Naval Historical Foundation

“Flying enthusiasts and Stearman devotees will appreciate the first part of the book which provides insights that only someone who grew up in the Stearman household could supply…Fascinating tale.”

Aviation History, September 2012

“Stearman has written a marvelous memoir of his time overseas and in the White House. His candid observations make for interesting reading, especially for those individuals wanting to pursue a career as a Foreign Service officer.”

Military Heritage, June 2012

“[Stearman’s] book is at once both a hommage to his father and a fascinating accounting of his own remarkable life and the tumultuous times in which he lived. Overall, An American Adventure is a very informative, even entertaining work, offering much that historians of naval operations in the Second World War, Cold War historians, students of the Vietnam experience, and those interested in more recent foreign policy and national security studies will find of value….unusually fine and fascinating.”

Naval History Book Reviews, May 8, 2012

“A new volume will be added to the required reading lists of all high-quality history courses dealing with the twentieth century. Rarely does it happen that an author combines elegant prose and keen and discriminating intellect in drawing on a life of action, intrigue, diplomacy, policymaking, and reflection. Bill Stearman participated in nearly all of the momentous events from the 1930s to the twenty-first century, and obviously took good notes. With a novelist’s sense of drama and a historian’s rigor, he has given us a real page-turner full of insight and anecdote.”

—John F. Lehman, 65th Secretary of the Navy

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