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George Kennan's career is divided into two more or less distinct periods. During the first, he was a conspicuous and rather controversial foreign service officer and then ambassador, and one of the State Department's leading intellectuals, especially as an expert on Russia and the Soviet Union. Since 1953, with short interludes back in harness, he has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, a Visiting Professor at Oxford and Chicago, and a prolific writer and lecturer about foreign affairs.

Kennan is a grave person, what the French call sérieux, a man of character and sensibility absorbed in the quest for the ultimate. His books and articles have attracted a wide following, and have been crowned with many prizes. With felicitous sympathy, Kennan's writings express the yearnings and anxieties of his readers about the role of the United States in world politics. Now, in The Cloud of Danger, he has written a testament of faith—a compendium of advice about what he thinks our foreign policy should be, and how we should seek to fulfill it.

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