Jeffrey LewisPaul Nitze, 1907-2004

The New York Times and Washington Post have excellent obituaries that capture Nitze’s good and bad qualities.

Decorum inhibits candor, however. Nitze’s role in slandering Paul Warnke, during Warnke’s confirmation hearing for Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency is an unseemly moment that defined Nitze for a great many of his colleagues. To their credit, both the Times and the Post faithfully record the ugly incident.

A more balanced view of Nitze’s accomplishments, some undeniably great, can be found in a review of Nitze’s memoir, From Hiroshima to Glasnost: At the Center of Decision (Grove Weidenfeld, 1989), by Michael Krepon of the Stimson Center.

Strobe Talbott’s biography, Master of the Game (Knopf, 1989), is also insightful, but perhaps too long for the casual reader. Stanley Hoffman’s review of Game (“Hawk in the Woods,” The New Republic 200:5, January 30, 1989, pp.31-36) captures the essence of Talbott’s argument in a couple of pages.