Probably the name Grand Rapids carries little resonance for readers outside the state of Michigan. Within Michigan, the city is well known for its predominantly Dutch population. As a local adage has it, “If you’re not Dutch, you’re not much.” Both Arthur Vandenberg and his biographer, Hendrik “Hank” Meijer, the author of the superb new Arthur Vandenberg: The Man in the Middle of the American Century, are products of that Michigan community. Meijer, besides being a biographer, is the ceo of Meijer Stores, a popular retail chain. The Grand Rapids Dutch are known for their industriousness, civic-mindedness, common sense, and thriftiness; until 1986 Meijer’s stores were called Meijer’s Thrifty Acres. Arthur Vandenberg’s down-to-earth Dutch hard-headedness helped him influence American foreign policy both in...

 

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