Theodore Draper is one of America's most trenchant and informed critics. A Present of Things Past gathers together ten of his most recent and most powerful selected essays, in which Draper, with his customary acuity and wit, tackles a host of issues that define America's political culture. A Present of Things Past is concerned with a reexamination of the Second World War in both its military and its political aspects; the trajectory of American conservatism as it manifested itself during the Reagan years; the rise of Gorbachev and the history of "reform" in the Soviet Union; the revisionist debate over the origins and history of American communism; and the persistent mystery of a man named Max Eitingon, who was, depending on one's reading of the sources, either an important figure in the history of psychoanalysis or an agent of the Soviet secret police, or both.In "American Hubris," Draper illuminates the assumptions that have guided American foreign policy in the postwar period, and concludes that our costly misadventures--in Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, and elsewhere--cannot be considered a string of aberrations. They were, he argues, a consequence of the Truman Doctrine. In "Reagan's Junta," Draper observes: "This is supposed to have been the era of the imperial presidency. It has turned out to be the era of presidencies that have tried to make themselves imperial-and failed." Throughout these compelling essays, Draper demonstrates the uses and abuses to which history has been put by ideologues of both the left and the right. He finds unacceptable, for example, the practice of many journalists of fictionalizing their sources. The New York Times has called Draper "one of the clearer-eyed observers of the issues that torment us." A Present of Things Past enhances that reputation.