In this leading text, Walter LaFeber offers a comprehensive history of American foreign relations from the mid-eighteenth century to the present. His narrative account features several major themes: the connections between U.S. foreign policy and domestic politics; the impact of American economic development on foreign policy interests; popular culture, particularly film, as a filter for public opinion on American commitments abroad; the roles of public opinion, leadership, and bureaucracy in the formation of policy.
In the Second Edition, LaFeber has revised nearly every chapter in the book. In the early chapters, there is more attention to the origins of foreign policy institutions and practices, including precedents for the executive agreement, and new discussions of U.S. relations with Britain in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The more recent chapters feature fresh insights of Potsdam, the origins of the Korean War, and the Cuban Missile Crisis--all based on new evidence drawn from Soviet archives. The new edition amply covers the momentous events that brought the Cold War to an end and thrust the United States into the uncetain position of the world's only superpower.
LaFeber, a diplomatic historian and author of the acclaimed Inevitable Revolutions ( LJ 12/1/83), offers a well-written, comprehensive overview of U.S. foreign policy in the context of American social history. Like any work intended as a text and covering such a broad period, this is short on detail but does consistently develop themes useful in understanding the complex history of American foreign relations. In particular, LaFeber emphasizes the role of American eagerness for land and expanded markets betwen 1750 and the 1940s, the relative decline of U.S. power beginning in the 1950s, and a predilection toward isolationism that helped maintain freedom of action. Recommended for most libraries to supplement and update standards, e.g., Thomas A. Bailey's A Diplomatic History of the American People (Prentice-Hall, 1980. 10th ed.).-- James R. Kuhlman, Univ. of Georgia Lib., Athens
School Library Journal
YA-- Based on the criteria of territory, population, economic strength, and natural resources, LaFeber argues that the United States has been a world power since its beginnings as a nation in 1776. As evidence, he offers treaties and alliances concluded with major European powers such as France, Holland, and Spain while the Revolutionary War was still being fought. This account of American foreign policy from its beginnings through the INF treaty with Russia in 1988 is both interesting and instructive. The generous use of maps, charts, political cartoons, annotated portraits, and photographs, along with the notes and suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter, add to the usefulness of the book. Designed for use as a college textbook, this work is an example of scholarship at its best and would be helpful for students in honors American history classes and speech and debate groups, as well as serving as a reference source for teachers.-- Patricia Lilly, Holub Middle School, Alief, TX