Michael A. Ledeen Books

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Michael LedeenAmerican Michael Arthur Ledeen is first and foremost a historian. He is a specialist on foreign policy, including state sponsors of terrorism, Iran, the Middle East, Europe, U.S.-China relations, intelligence, and Africa. He is the Freedom Scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributing editor to National Review Online. He has written numerous books on diverse topics.

Virgil’s Golden Egg and Other Neapolitan Miracles: An Investigation into the Sources of Creativity by Michael A. Ledeen (Jun 30, 2011)

Book Description:

Many cities have great moments of creativity, and then lose it. Naples has survived centuries of foreign occupation, widespread misery on a grand scale, the end of its role as a great capital city, repeated natural catastrophes, and terrible epidemics – and it shows no signs of slowing down. What accounts for Naples? The sorcerer Virgil is said to have created a Golden Egg to save Naples from natural catastrophe. Michael Ledeen examines the legend of the egg – now locked in an iron cage and buried beneath the “Egg Castle” – to suggest some surprising answers in this highly original exploration of Neapolitan life, death, and creativity.

Obama’s Betrayal of Israel (Encounter Broadsides) by Michael A. Ledeen (Nov 24, 2009)

Book Description:

Yasser Arafat’s incremental conquest of Israel was learned at the feet of the North Vietnamese in 1970. The Vietnamese told the Arab leadership that they accepted the fact that victory in Vietnam would take many years, during which it would be necessary to temporarily accept the division of the country into two states, while they worked for a shift in the balance of power. In this, the Vietnamese were smart enough to permit the Americans to save face. They had no intention of respecting the agreements they signed with the United States; the point was to provide political cover for the American retreat.

Today, Barack Obama is giving the Arabs the same opportunity as Nixon gave the Vietnamese. Obama told a Muslim audience in Cairo in the first months of his administration that America’s support for Israel was “unbreakable,” even as he moved to compel Jerusalem to cede even more territory to its enemies. In, this new broadside, Michael Ledeen asks why the Obama administration has chosen this course, and examines what this betrayal means for Israel and the world at large

Accomplice to Evil: Iran and the War Against the West by Michael A. Ledeen (Oct 13, 2009)

Book Description:

This volume offers a wake-up call to the American people, warning that we and our leaders are repeating the disastrous mistakes of the past. While America has, for the last 30 years, tried in vain to reach various agreements with Iran, Iran has been the foremost supporter of radical Islamic terrorism.

The Iranian Time Bomb: The Mullah Zealots’ Quest for Destruction by Michael A. Ledeen (Sep 4, 2007)

Book Description:

Michael Ledeen argues that Iran is a threat to the United States and Israel and suggests ways to counter the threat without using military means.  Commentary is provided by Cliff May and former CIA director James Woolsey.

The War Against the Terror Masters: Why It Happened. Where We Are Now. How We’ll Win. by Michael A. Ledeen (Sep 10, 2003)

Book Description:

The War Against the Terror Masters is a must-read guide to the terrorist crisis. Michael A. Ledeen explains in startling detail how and why the United States was so unprepared for the September 11th catastrophe; the nature of the terror network we are fighting–including the state sponsors of that network; the role of radical Islam; and the enemy collaboration of some of our traditional Middle Eastern “allies”;–and, most convincingly, what we must do to win the war.

The War Against the Terror Masters examines the two sides of the war: the rise of the international terror network, and the past and current efforts of our intelligence services to destroy the terror masters in the U.S. and overseas. Ledeen’s new book also visits every country in the Near East and describes the terrorist cancers in each. Among many revelations that will attract wide attention: *How the terror network survived the loss of its main sponsor, the Soviet Union. *How the FBI learned from a KGB defector–twenty years before Osama’s bin Laden’s murderous assault–of the existance of Arab terrorist sleeper networks inside the United States. *How moralistic guidelines straight-jacketed the FBI from even collecting a file of newspaper clippings on known terror groups operating in America. *How the internal culture of the CIA, and severe limitations on its ability to operate, blinded us to the growth of terror networks. And much more.

D’Annunzio: the First Duce by Michael A. Ledeen (Dec 1, 2001)

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Tocqueville on American Character: Why Tocqueville’s Brilliant Exploration of the American Spirit is as Vital and Important Today as It Was Nearly Two Hundred Years Ago by Michael A. Ledeen (Jul 14, 2000)

Book Description:

In 1831, Alexis De Tocqueville, a twenty-six-year-old French aristocrat, spent nine months travelling across the United States. From the East Coast to the frontier, from the Canadian border to New Orleans, Tocqueville observed the American people and the revolutionary country they’d created. His celebrated Democracy in America, the most quoted work on America ever written, presented the new Americans with a degree of understanding no one had accomplished before or has since. Astonished at the pace of daily life and stimulated by people at all levels of society, Tocqueville recognized that Americans were driven by a series of internal conflicts: simultaneously religious and materialistic; individualistic and yet deeply involved in community affairs; isolationist and interventionist; pragmatic and ideological.

Noted author Michael Ledeen takes a fresh look at Tocqueville’s insights into our national psyche and asks whether Americans’ national character, which Tocqueville believed to be wholly admirable, has fallen into moral decay and religious indifference.

Michael Ledeen’s sparkling new exploration has some surprising answers and provides a lively new look at a time when character is at the center of our national debate.

Machiavelli on Modern Leadership: Why Machiavelli’s Iron Rules Are As Timely And Important Today As Five Centuries Ago by Michael A. Ledeen (May 5, 2000)

Book Description:

The War Against the Terror Masters is a must-read guide to the terrorist crisis. Michael A. Ledeen explains in startling detail how and why the United States was so unprepared for the September 11th catastrophe; the nature of the terror network we are fighting–including the state sponsors of that network; the role of radical Islam; and the enemy collaboration of some of our traditional Middle Eastern “allies”;–and, most convincingly, what we must do to win the war.

The War Against the Terror Masters examines the two sides of the war: the rise of the international terror network, and the past and current efforts of our intelligence services to destroy the terror masters in the U.S. and overseas. Ledeen’s new book also visits every country in the Near East and describes the terrorist cancers in each. Among many revelations that will attract wide attention: *How the terror network survived the loss of its main sponsor, the Soviet Union. *How the FBI learned from a KGB defector–twenty years before Osama’s bin Laden’s murderous assault–of the existance of Arab terrorist sleeper networks inside the United States. *How moralistic guidelines straight-jacketed the FBI from even collecting a file of newspaper clippings on known terror groups operating in America. *How the internal culture of the CIA, and severe limitations on its ability to operate, blinded us to the growth of terror networks. And much more.

Freedom Betrayed: How America led a Global Democratic Revolution, Won the Cold War and Walked Away by Michael A. Ledeen (Jan 1, 1996)

Book Description:

In Freedom Betrayed, Michael Ledeen weaves together key moments in the fall of communism with the skill of a born storyteller. His insider’s knowledge of the interplay of complex personalities and Byzantine strategies makes a compelling narrative – a narrative enlivened by his wit and flair for the dramatic.
He observes that just when democracy seemed everywhere triumphant – with the fall of antidemocratic regimes in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa – our leaders failed those fledgling democracies, first by misunderstanding the monumental achievement of that triumph and second by not providing the political, legal, and entrepreneurial know-how and support the new democrats so desperately needed.

Superpower Dilemmas: The U.S. and the U.S.S.R. at Century’s End by Michael A. Ledeen (Jan 1, 1991)

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Perilous Statecraft: An Insider’s Account Of The Iran-Contra Affair by Michael A. Ledeen (Oct 12, 1988)

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A fascinating, if self-important, account of the origins and aftermath of the U.S. sale of arms to Iran in return for the release of hostages. The author, acting as a consultant to the State Department and National Security Council, was an early intermediary for contacts with Israeli and Iranian actors. He was not involved in the diversion of funds to the contras. He criticizes Oliver North for overweening ambition and loss of perspective, but believes that North, McFarlane, Poindexter and Secord all had noble intentions. They made mistakes, he says, but did not commit crimes. The real devil in the piece is Congress, especially the committees and staffs investigating the affair

West European Communism and American Foreign Policy by Michael A. Ledeen (Jan 1, 1987)

Book Description:
The great vogue of Eurocommunism came to an end with the return of the French and Italian Communist Parties to positions of opposition to authority in the late 1970’s, and the electoral confirmation that Spain’s Communist Party would remain small. As the vogue of communism with a human face passed. The question of American policy toward Communists became far less pressing; yet the question will almost certainly require attention in the future. This is particularly true with respect to the Italian Communist Party, which remains powerful in numbers and flexible in policy.

Michael Ledeen examines Communist Party participation in Western European governments since World War II, and the ambivalent American foreign policy toward it. He concentrates on the Italian Communist Party: its history and its relations with the Soviet Union. Togliatti, Secchia, Gramsci, Nenni are identified as the major players in Italian communist and socialist politics. The author explores in depth why the United States has been reluctant to become involved in internal Italian affairs, and how this policy posture has strongly influenced in the development of communism in Western Europe.

Ledeen shows that the strategies of contemporary West European Communist Parties are now roughly similar to those of the immediate post-war period. He argues that American intellectuals are as uncritical of Eurocommunism as they were after the first flush of Allied victory in World War II, that the Carter administration’s foreign policy was incoherent, and that the United States needs a consistent, ideological approach to communism–one that includes the capacity for action as well as reaction.

Grave New World by Michael A. Ledeen (Apr 1985)

Book Description:

From Central America to Iran, from Poland to Lebanon, both the United States and the Soviet Union have in recent years shown a growing confusion and unpredictability. Michael A. Ledeen, drawing on his first-hand experience as a foriegn correspondent and Special Advisor to Secretary of State Alexander Haig, offers an original and challenging analysis of the current East-West crisis, explaining what went wrong and why.

“Instead of a direct confrontation between the two power blocs,” Ledeen writes, “we now witness striking indecision on both sides.” The failures of Soviet and American leadership, he contends, have encouraged leaders elsewhere–in Cuba and Israel, for example–to take risks and embark on international adventures they would never have attempted a decade ago, thereby increasing the risk of conflict between the superpowers. Ledeen looks at the reasons behind the super-powers’ confusion and finds markedly different explanations in each case. The Soviet Union, he says, faces an internal structural crisis of potentially explosive magnitude, while the United States seems unable to produce a policy-making elite equal to the challenge of the modern world.

As he isolates the specific factors in the increasingly dangerous world situation, Ledeen also considers “ways out” of the quandary, and suggests that the United States should pull together talent from throughout the Western world in its effort to construct sensible and durable approaches to foreign policy.

United States Defense and Foreign Policy: Forging a Bipartisan Agenda by Michael A. Ledeen (Aug 1984)

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Debacle, the American failure in Iran by Michael A. Ledeen (1982)

Book Description:
Criticizes the Carter Administration’s handling of the Iranian crisis before the overthrow of the Shah, blaming the Administration’s ineptitude, political infighting, and problems with the intelligence community for the American failure in Iran

Italy in Crisis by Michael A. Ledeen (Apr 1977)

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The First Duce: D’Annunzio at Fiume by Michael A. Ledeen (Apr 1, 1977)

Book Description:
Gabriele D’Annunio was one of the most flamboyant figures in the political history of modern Europe. A poet in the Byronic style and a popular hero of the First World War, D’Annunio passionately believed that the sacrifices of war should prelude a new social order. His capture of the city of Fiume in 1919, which had been claimed by Italy as part of the settlement before the Versailles Peace Conference, has been popularied and romanticied ever since. Ledeen uses information gathered from Italian and American archives and from personal interviews to examine the sixteen months of D’Annunio’s personal rule in Fiume, seeing it as a harbinger of successful mass movements of the twentieth century.

The connection between D’Annunio and Fascism is central to Ledeen’s narrative. Virtually the entire ritual of Fascist politics made familiar by Mussolini-the balcony address, the Roman salute, the dramatic dialogues with the crowd, the use of religious symbols in a new secular setting-was influenced by D’Annunio at Fiume. Both were masters of a political style based on personal charisma. Each spoke for a “new” Italy and, eventually, for a new world. Each attempted to transform his countrymen into more heroic types by an ethic of violence and grandeur. But Ledeen brings sharply into focus profound differences between D’Annunio’s vision of a new world and that offered by Fascism. Significantly, D’Annunio enlisted support from the most diverse elements of society-politicians and businessmen in addition to representatives of radical trade unions, anarchist groups, and the armed forces.

Often sensationalied as a precursor of a sixties-style “dolce vita,” D’Annunio’s Fiume presented many of the phenomena considered novel or unsettling today: sexual promiscuity, widespread experimentation with drugs, clergymen wanting to marry, women demanding equal rights, youth calling for the elimination of the old, soldiers insisting on a democratic army, poets yearning for a beautiful world instead of a purely utilitarian one, minorities clamoring for their fair share of political power. From the dispassionate distance of half a century, Ledeen views Fiume as a microcosm of the larger chaos of our contemporary scene. Although he was removed from Fiume after a pitched battle on land and sea, D’Annunio remained an influential figure in Italian politics. Ledeen presents him as “one of the great innovators and watersheds of the modern world.” This book will be of interest to historians, political scientists, and those interested in Post World War I Italy.

An authority on Italian fascism and contemporary Europe, Michael A. Ledeen is Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. In addition to being a frequent contributor to The New Republic, The American Spectator, and 11 Giornale (Milan), he is the author of 15 books on contemporary history and politics.