Callahan, David 1965(?)–
Callahan, David 1965(?)–
Born c. 1965. Education: Hampshire College, B.A.; Princeton University, Ph.D., 1997. Politics: Liberal.
Writer. American Prospect, Princeton, NJ, managing editor; Demos (public policy center), New York, NY, co-founder and director of research, 1999—. Guest speaker on numerous television and radio shows.
Century Foundation fellow, 1994-99.
Dangerous Capabilities: Paul Nitze and the Cold War (nonfiction), HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1990.
Between Two Worlds: Realism, Idealism, and American Foreign Policy after the Cold War, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1994.
State of the Union: A Novel, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1997.
Unwinnable Wars: American Power and Ethnic Conflict, Hill and Wang (New York, NY), 1997.
Kindred Spirits: Harvard Business School's Extraordinary Class of 1949 and How They Transformed American Business, J. Wiley (Hoboken, NJ), 2002.
The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead (nonfiction), Harcourt (New York, NY), 2004.
The Moral Center: How We Can Reclaim Our Country from Die-hard Extremists, Rogue Corporations, Hollywood Hacks, and Pretend Patriots, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2006.
Also author of The Enduring Challenge: Self Determination and Ethnic Conflict in the 21st Century. Contributor to periodicals, including Commonweal, New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, American Prospect, New York Times Book Review, and Technology Review.
David Callahan's first book, Dangerous Capabilities: Paul Nitze and the Cold War, recounts longtime bureaucrat Paul Nitze's role in shaping America's cold war policies. Nitze served under five U.S. presidents—John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan—and, in various capacities, proving influential in U.S.-Soviet relations. A protégé of Dean Acheson, who served as secretary of state during the presidency of Harry S. Truman, Nitze was named assistant secretary of defense during Kennedy's administration, and he became defense secretary under Johnson. Nitze, though a self-avowed Democrat, was also a steadfast bipartisan figure, and so he remained a key governmental figure under Republican leaders Nixon, Ford, and Reagan. Throughout his career, Nitze was known for approaching relations with the Soviets by inevitably considering the worst likely outcome of any military or diplomatic maneuvers. Joseph S. Nye, Jr., writing in the New York Times Book Review, noted Nitze's "systematic pessimism" and his faith in nuclear superiority as a deterrent to armed conflict. Nye pronounced Nitze "a fascinating individual" and deemed Callahan's Dangerous Capabilities "an immensely readable account."
Despite the extensive detail on Nitze's life and career that Callahan provides in Dangerous Capabilities, the author only interviewed his subject twice and mainly restricted his questions to those of a biographical nature. Callahan stated in the New York Times Book Review that Nitze's "former friends and colleagues provided me with all the ammunition I needed to make my attack anyway." As a lifelong liberal, Callahan harbored inherent opposition to many of Nitze's policies and ideologies, but, as he related in the same article, he was impressed with his subject: "He is a marvelous man who is intellectually much more thorough and thoughtful than many of the people who have served in Government with him."
It was while writing a book on mid-twentieth-century businessmen that Callahan began to explore the broader implications of some of the business scandals that seemed to dominate the 1980s and 1990s. As part of his research for Kindred Spirits: Harvard Business School's Extraordinary Class of 1949 and How They Transformed American Business, Callahan interviewed key members of that graduating class who went on to head some of the largest corporations in the United States. He explained in an interview with Failure Magazine contributor Jason Zasky: "I was talking to them around the time those Enron and WorldCom scandals were erupting, and these guys were really appalled. They were saying that this kind of thing would have never happened in an earlier era because corporate leaders had different values. There was less greed; there was less cutthroat competition. It got me thinking broadly about whether American values had really changed that much."
In The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead, Callahan explores the definition of the word "cheating" and how a winner-take-all mentality has made cheating morally permissible for many otherwise honest citizens. Village Voice reviewer Joy Press commented: "Callahan compiles a meticulous mountain of data about our current state of disgrace." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly found that "the book's strength lies in [tying] together assorted detailed descriptions of cheating throughout the system and explaining the connections."
Callahan takes a deeper look at the status of American ethics in The Moral Center: How We Can Reclaim Our Country from Die-hard Extremists, Rogue Corporations, Hollywood Hacks, and Pretend Patriots. He proposes a balance between personal responsibility and government involvement as an antidote to deteriorating morals and a pervading "me first" attitude. "Readers of all political viewpoints will find this book a reasoned and balanced appeal," remarked Booklist contributor Vanessa Bush. A Publishers Weekly critic commented: "Building on his initial success, his plainspoken, moderate stance is likely to gain traction with politically minded readers."
State of the Union is Callahan's first published work of fiction and is set in Washington against a possible plot to overthrow the government. The novel earned him considerable praise for its unique and well-informed storyline. Michele Leber stated in a review for Library Journal that Callahan's "plot will keep readers of political-military thrillers turning pages." "An original, well-conceived hero and some inside knowledge of politics and the defense establishment give this thriller an edge," wrote a Publishers Weekly critic.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 1, 1997, Gilbert Taylor, review of State of the Union: A Novel, p. 1481; September 1, 2006, Vanessa Bush, review of The Moral Center: How We Can Reclaim Our Country from Die-hard Extremists, Rogue Corporations, Hollywood Hacks, and Pretend Patriots, p. 27.
Business Record, July 12, 2004, "Play Fair," p. 21.
California Bookwatch, November 1, 2006, review of The Moral Center.
Corporate Counsel, June 1, 2004, Eriq Gardner, review of The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead, p. 131.
Jewelers Circular Keystone, August 1, 2004, "Doing Unto Others: An Exclusive JCK Survey Finds Opinion in the Industry Divided over Whether Codes of Ethics Can Curb Misconduct. That's Not Surprising, Given the Lack of Agreement on Which Practices Are Ethical and Which Aren't," p. 62, and "Of Shakespeare, Bridges, and Mirrors," p. 130.
Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2006, review of The Moral Center, p. 609.
Latin Trade, January 1, 2005, review of The Cheating Culture, p. 54.
Library Journal, May 1, 1997, Michele Leber, review of State of the Union, p. 136; December 1, 2003, Audrey Snowden, review of The Cheating Culture, p. 146.
New York Times Book Review, September 9, 1990, Joseph S. Nye, review of Dangerous Capabilities: Paul Nitze and the Cold War, p. 22.
Publishers Weekly, July 13, 1990, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of Dangerous Capabilities, p. 48; May 5, 1997, review of State of the Union, p. 198; November 17, 2003, review of The Cheating Culture, p. 57; June 12, 2006, review of The Moral Center, p. 42.
Reason, July 1, 2004, "Cheating Heart: Does Capitalism Teach People to Break the Rules?," p. 56.
Reference & Research Book News, May 1, 2007, review of The Moral Center.
School Library Journal, June 1, 2004, Emily Lloyd, review of The Cheating Culture, p. 179.
US Banker, April 1, 2004, "Big Business: The Poster Child of a Society under Too Much Pressure," p. 16.
Washington Monthly, March 1, 1998, "Unwinnable Wars: American Power and Ethnic Conflict," p. 52; October 15, 2003, Thomas E. Ricks, review of State of the Union, p. 367.
Failure Magazine,http://www.failuremag.com/ (July 3, 2007), Jason Zasky, review of The Cheating Culture.
Village Voice,http://www.villagevoice.com/ (January 26, 2004), Joy Press, review of The Cheating Culture.