American Encounter: The United States and the Making of the Modern World: Essays from 75 Years of Foreign Affairs

American Encounter: The United States and the Making of the Modern World: Essays from 75 Years of Foreign Affairs

by James F. Hoge
     
 

Since its founding in 1922, Foreign Affairs has been the world's leading journal of international relations, a distinction earned by providing the most insightful and far-reaching commentary on global politics and economic policy available anywhere. As America has played a pivotal role in determining the shape of the world in the twentieth century, Foreign Affairs and… See more details below

Overview

Since its founding in 1922, Foreign Affairs has been the world's leading journal of international relations, a distinction earned by providing the most insightful and far-reaching commentary on global politics and economic policy available anywhere. As America has played a pivotal role in determining the shape of the world in the twentieth century, Foreign Affairs and its contributors have been at the center of each debate. In The American Encounter, readers will find landmark essays in a unique intellectual history of this century and of the extraordinary role that America has played in it.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With the advantage of hindsight, Foreign Affairs editor Hoge and managing editor Zakaria have distilled 75 years of their journal. The 42 essayswritten, of course, without the benefit of hindsightmake for a compelling overview of the major political and economic issues of our time. A few pieces have their own historical importance, such as George Kennan's 1947 "X" article, which outlined the policy of Soviet containment by the West. Anyone comfortable with the dense and occasionally arcane prose of this collection will probably have no need for the brief filler at the introduction to each section. Readers will have the impression that contributors to Foreign Affairs were indeed prophets: Karl Kautsky condemns the 1918 Versailles treaty for "bringing again to life the ideas of armed opposition and revenge"; Arnold Toynbee warns in 1939 that Britain and France have given Hitler a "free hand in Central and Western Europe"; Julian Benda criticizes U.S. isolationism for "peace at any price" only months before Pearl Harbor. The final section presents a number of unproved claims, e.g., technology will increasingly undermine the sovereignty of nations. Time will tell whether these theories are as immortal as those that precede them in this thought-provoking collection. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews
Hoge and Zakaria, respectively editor and managing editor of Foreign Affairs, have collected 43 articles to commemorate the journal's 75 years of publication.

Perhaps the most interesting characteristic of this volume is not its overview of a changing world during a turbulent century, but rather the subtle indications of a changing perception of that world. Many of the names and topics are expected: Kennan on containment of the Soviets; Kissinger on diplomacy; Morgenthau on foreign intervention; Brzezinski on the Cold War. But there are also surprises, especially during the earlier decades: renegade Marxist Kautsky on Germany after WW I; Italian philosopher Croce on liberty in the 1930s; Soviet theorist Bukharin on imperialism; and anthropologist Mead on what later came to be known as North-South relations. Together the selections constitute a short intellectual history of foreign-policy concerns. Despite the often gloomy realities, the early contributions are characterized by a belief that ideas matter and that a wide range of them are worth considering. The postWW II period is dominated by a narrower discourse of national interest within shared assumptions about a bipolar world. After the demise of the Soviet Union, the articles share a sense of discovery that the world is a much more complex place than could ever have been imagined during the Cold War. This evolution in the mindset dominating the pages of Foreign Affairs reflects both the journal's failure and its success. Its goal, announced in the lead article of the first issue, was to educate the broad public about foreign events and issues. It has remained, however, largely a forum for the intelligentsia.

The evidence that the experts have learned a lot over the years, however, suggests that the journal nevertheless deserves its reputation as the place for serious discussions of foreign policy. Well worth reading.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465001705
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
08/28/1997
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
656
Product dimensions:
6.54(w) x 9.57(h) x 2.09(d)

What People are saying about this

George Bush
"A unique and very insightful look at America's role in shaping the twentieth century. The story is vividly told as it occurred, and by the people who witnessed it first-hand. It is an invaluable history lesson."

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