Deepak Bhatt
4 min readMar 29, 2022

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Book Review: The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made

The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made is not a book. It is a reserve from the past. This reserve is made available in this world with ease. For those who love history and also for those who think history is boring, this book will change your outlook on it. It is a narrative of the bygone with several interviews, biography, documents, and analyses.

About The Book

The book revolves around six leaders who have contributed and made their actions noticeable in the world of war. They guided America in various ways and may not always agree but were the designers of the post-war period. The book shares a background of World War II. The six men mentioned in the manuscript- Averell Harriman, Dean Acheson, George Kennan, Robert Lovett, John McCloy, and Charles Bohlen are from the same era and their resonance to the post-World War period is an eye-opener for sure.

The Authors

We all have loved Leonardo da Vinci and cannot get enough of Walter Isaacson with his other books like Benjamin Franklin, Kissinger, Steve Jobs, Einstein, and more books like this have kept us spellbound. By co-authoring The Wise Men -Six Friends and the World They Made, Walter Isaacson together with his co-author Evan Thomas has outdone his writing ability. From a CEO of the Aspen Institute to the chair of CNN and to the editor of Time, Water Isaacson has never let go of the professor of history in him sway away. It is his passion that a reader finds this book captivating with personal biography.

Evan Thomas, the renowned author of The Very Best Men, The War Lovers, and Back from the dead and many other books that have remained New York’s bestsellers, this magnificent endeavor is a work of craft as it enthralls its readers throughout the 864 pages.

3 Reasons Why Should You Read It?

Firstly, the book is on the scenario built after World War II. A reader gets to feel the role played by each of the leaders’ contributions to make the world a better place to live in.

Secondly, the chapters are a journey of the six men and the higher intelligence of the men. The authors showcased how the chaotic scenario of America was brought to order due to these wise men.

The authors have mentioned the outsize personality of Averell Harriman- American diplomat, Democratic, politician, and businessman.

There comes the towering intellect leader Dean Acheson, an American statesman, lawyer, and the foreign advisor for Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan, and North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The Wise Men: Six men and the World They Made spoke about how George Kennan, the advocate, and scholar knew to have laid the policy of containment during the Cold War for Soviet expansion.

A huge Hand goes to Robert Lovett aided in rebuilding the society after the holocaust of World War II. During the formative years of the war, he was the secretary of defense.

The book has its charm as it blends well with the biography of each of the wise men in a balanced way. John McCloy was the presidential advisor and served as an Assistant Secretary of the war. He is thought to be one of the nicest group members of the foreign policy establishment of elders under the head ‘The Wise Men’.

Coming the sixth person in the book is Charles Bohlen. It is a name, instrumental in the world of shaping US foreign policy during World War.

Both the co-authors have taken exceptional efforts to write a rich text of historical nature that is relevant and captivating. It talks about an era and the mindset the people have seen during the Cold war. The timings and the period of the events are laid down with precision under Isaacson and Evans’s territory.

Thirdly, as you read, you realize the adrenaline rush as the wrecked period has ended, the heroes that we discuss (out of six, only two are with us), and when you want to know the future, it looks vague. But just when you thought that Isaac and Evans have pulled up the string and balanced the history with its future.

My Favorite Part

As a reader, it is a rivet of information. From what looked like a devastating state of things to being America the superpower, the book had it all. The quasi-historical problems asserted were upright. The biographies had their alluring nature with insightful anecdotal notes to them. Someone who is well versed with the characters of the book may find it edifying while for others it may cause a grave solemn about the future of the country. The book talks about how despite the six leaders being from different facets and the same era put their integrity

Final Thoughts

The book is time-travel and inspiring as it travels to geopolitical times. It is a narration depicting how when one fights against all the odds to make the political face of the world a better place to live in. It shows the commitments the wise men have towards the nation. Despite the differences within the statesmen, whenever the demand to stand for unity came, the fearless men stood. The book truly shows the value of integrity, taking decisions as a team, working on political operations, and shows how opportunities when grabbed together can make the nation the superpower it is today. The story is not about America being a superpower, it is about the humbleness and the stories and the dramatic approach. The book is a must-read for all.

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Deepak Bhatt

Group Senior Vice President, Gujarat at BW Businessworld, Ex. Head, Communication, PR & Digital Marketing IIM Ahmedabad, 🎓 Alumnus IIM Calcutta, Stanford GSB