Hank Meijer discusses his new biography of Michigan senator Arthur Vandenberg at a December 6 Council event

January 5, 2018

 

Local businessman Hendrik Meijer long had a dream to give Michigan senator Arthur Vandenberg (1884-1951) his due—as a national leader who changed his isolationist views to become a leader in building consensus for major U.S. international initiatives such as the Marshall Plan, the United Nations and NATO.

 

 “I remember Hank telling me 20 years ago that he was determined to get his Vandenberg biography done,” said World Affairs Council of Western Michigan (WACWM) executive director emeritus Dixie Anderson. “He was convinced that the senator’s contributions had not been properly recognized.”

 

Anderson said that at the time she immediately promised Meijer a Council-promoted gathering to celebrate the completion of the book.

 

“We’re keeping that promise,” said Anderson.

 

Meijer’s new volume, Arthur Vandenberg: The Man in the Middle of the American Century, will be discussed by the author on Wednesday, December 6, at 5:15 p.m. in the University Club, on the top floor of the Fifth Third Building, 111 Lyon NW, at an event sponsored by the WACWM.

 

The book, published by the University of Chicago Press, will be available for purchase and signing.

 

Arthur Vandenberg is important to the history of the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan, as the two men who began the Council in 1949 considered Vandenberg their inspiration for conducting non-partisan dialogue on international issues. The senator is still considered the Council’s “mentor in spirit.”

 

Reviews of Meijer’s Vandenberg biography are strong.

 

NPR’s Cokie Roberts wrote: “Every member of Congress should read this book for a lesson in leadership…Vandenberg understood that he had to work in a relentlessly bipartisan manner, which wasn’t easy then as it isn’t now. Still, he succeeded.”

 

Former secretary of state Henry Kissinger notes: “Meijer has produced an affecting human portrait of a public servant who came to symbolize the bipartisan pursuit of the national interest and a more peaceful world.”

 

Historian, author and CNN commentator Douglas Brinkley adds: “Hendrik Meijer’s Arthur Vandenberg is an important contribution to 20th century U.S. political history.”

 

To register for the event, go to the Council events page: www.worldmichigan.org/fall-2017-programming.

 

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