nys writers logo

James Mann, photo by Carloine Dexter
James Mann


NYS Writers Institute, October 9, 2012
4:15 p.m. Seminar | Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
8:00 p.m. Reading | Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus

James Mann, Albany-born journalist, bestselling author of Rise of the Vulcans (2004) about President George W. Bush’s war cabinet, will discuss his new book, The Obamians (2012), about foreign policy in the Obama White House, on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 at 8 p.m. in the Assembly Hall, Campus Center, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. Earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m., the author will present an informal seminar in the same location. The events are free and open to the public, and are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute.

Born and raised in Albany, NY, journalist James Mann is a sought-after authority on the turf wars and behind-the-scenes deliberations over foreign policy within recent American presidential administrations. His 2004 book on George W. Bush’s war cabinet, Rise of the Vulcans, was an international bestseller. His newest book is The Obamians: The Struggle Inside the White House to Redefine American Power (2012), the definitive insider’s guide to the events, ideas, personalities, and conflicts that have defined Barack Obama’s foreign policy.

Murray Polner of the History News Network calls it, “…an intelligent and meticulous rendering of Barack Obama and his foreign policy staff…. an unprejudiced look at our newest generation of the ‘Best and Brightest.’” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in advance praise, “James Mann gives us valuable insight into the crafting of American foreign policy….” Foreign policy scholar and former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott said, “James Mann has pioneered a new and immensely readable genre: an in-depth group portrait of foreign-policy advisors The Obamianswhose backgrounds and interactions help explain the worldview and policies of the president they serve. He did that superbly in Rise of the Vulcans… and he’s done it again with The Obamians.”

A revelatory and much-cited study of George W. Bush’s war cabinet, Rise of the Vulcans (2004) is widely regarded by journalists and historians as a primary source about Bush’s foreign policy team. The book takes its title from the nickname adopted by Condoleezza Rice and her staff— a name that is not borrowed from the Vulcans of Star Trek, but from the Roman god of fire and metalworking, a mascot of Rice’s home town of Birmingham, Alabama.

Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times said, “Lucid, shrewd and after so many high decibel screeds from both the right and the left, blessedly level headed. It is necessary reading for anyone interested in understanding how and why America came to deal with the rest of the world the way it is doing under the Bush administration.” The Wall Street Journal reviewer called it “a work of serious intellectual history and a nuanced analysis of the debates that will continue to shape American foreign policy long after the Vulcans themselves have left the stage.”

A former Beijing Bureau Chief for the L. A. Times, Mann is also the author of three award-winning books on America’s evolving relationship with China: The China Fantasy (2007), About Face (1999), and Beijing Jeep (1989). He currently serves as author in residence at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.