William Appleman Williams; The Tragedy of Empire

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Overview

Williams' controversial volumes, The Tragedy of American Diplomacy, Contours of American History, and other works have established him as the foremost interpreter of US foreign policy. Both Williams and others deeply influenced by him have recast not only diplomatic history but also the story of pioneer America's westward movement, and studies in the culture of imperialism.

At the end of the Cold War, when the US no longer faces any great enemy, the lessons of William Appleman Williams' life and scholarship have become more urgent than ever before. This study of his life and major works offers readers an opportunity to introduce, or re-introduce, themselves to a major figure of the last half-century.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Williams (1921-90) was an astute historian of U.S. diplomacy whose critical perspective helped recast the study of America's relationship with the rest of the world. His most influential books, The Tragedy of American Diplomacy (1959) and Contours of American History (1961), became cornerstones of the so-called revisionist school of historiography. A decorated World War II veteran, Williams trained several generations of historians at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. According to Buhle and Rice-Maximin, Williams is among a select number of Midwestern radicals whose intellectual contributions exceeded those of the more famous "New York Intellectuals," who nevertheless retained a monopoly over the country's highbrow media. The authors' provocative thesis is that Williams's critique of "empire as a way of life" offers a kind of Main Street alternative to the conventional politics of left vs. right. The authors studied with Williams, but their book is fair-minded and rigorously researched, as well as exceptionally interesting. This thoughtful biography of a major, if now neglected, American intellectual is recommended for academic libraries.Kent Worcester, Social Science Research Council, New York
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415911313
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 10/28/1995
  • Series: American Radicals Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 306
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Buhle is currently a Visiting Scholar at the American Civilization Department of Brown University. He has written, edited or co-edited twenty books including studies of radicalism, labor, ethnicity, and Jewish history. He is co-editor of The American Radical (Routledge, 1994). Edward Rice-Maximin has taught at, among other places, the Rhode Island School of Design and Rutgers University, Camden. He has previously written on William Appleman Williams for Dissent, the Village Voice, and The American Radical (Routledge, 1994).

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