Back in October of 2012, I read this book for the first time and I decided to reread it again so I could share more with our readers about this important topic. This book brings a perspective to readers that geography plays more than an part in the evolving global scene and that globalism is important but not all triumphant.
A couple of excerpts so far discussing policy and how nations should think about their policies. From page 26:
“For wise policymakers, while aware of their nation’s limitations, know that the art of statesmanship is about working as close to the edge as possible, without stepping over the brink.”
This brings to mind, what nation’s are doing this now in order to reach their goals? Which countries have overstepped and misread their policies? Which countries are attempting to position themselves to move closer to the so-called edge?
Kaplan shows us that leaders, when they deal with realism, understand that it is more of an art than a science. He uses this example in the next excerpt:
“Modern realism was perhaps most comprehensively summed up in 1948 by Hans J. Morgenthau in Politics Among Nations: The Struggle For Power And Peace. Let me pause awhile with this book, the effort of a German refugee who taught at the University of Chicago, in order to set the stage for my larger discussion about geography: for realism is crucial to a proper appreciation of the map, and in fact leads us directly to it.”
In rereading this, I plan to get a better understanding of why nations act the way they do and what part geography really plays in this.
As I have stated earlier, This book is one of the best biographies and memoirs that I have ever read. As I was getting near the end of the book, I started thinking back on what a complex man that Emerson was. Richardson did a tremendous job in examining Emerson’s relationships with close friends, men, women and even acquaintances. Emerson was a man that was hard to pin down in understanding his emotions when he was placed in a difficult position.
On page 545, I ran across this paragraph which puts things in perspective in analyzing Emerson.
“The impression that there were two Emersons never quite goes away. James Russell Lowell discerned a dreamy seer living alongside a practical Yankee. Bliss Perry thought the two sides were physically reflected in the two quite different sides of Emerson’s face. Alfred Kazin is nearer the mark when he speaks of a private self concealed behind the public Emerson, a lower-case person who continually made discoveries that the upper-case Emerson could use. Emerson’s own sense of this crops out in his talk about his daemon and his attribution of certain home truths to ‘Guy’ or ‘Osman’. By the late 1850′s a third and new layer of complexity emerged in Emersons’s life. He was fast becoming an institution—his own lengthened shadow—and this growing reputation now preceded both the public and the private Emerson wherever he went.”
This paragraph made me consider: did Emerson really have a public side and a private side? As I think back on what I read, I realize that I believe that he did. Richardson laid it out wonderfully in how Emerson and his relationships at home and through his correspondence were totally in character with that private side and not wanting to give too much of himself unless he felt protected.
As Emerson became older, his public side became more uninhibited, in my opinion, in how he handled issues such as abolition, the Civil War, and his views on religion. He was more outspoken and not as guarded as his private side in dealing with female friends for example. As I think on this book somemore, I will add some other thoughts.