"A great introduction to theoretical and practical aspects of power, with detailed case studies and a convincing narrative."
"Presents its evidence in a convincing manner and deserves to attract interest for skilfully including many classical and non-western thinkers in its analysis ... The book will be of use to scholars at any level but may especially appeal to students."
Central European Journal of International and Security Studies
"This book offers an in-depth analysis of the social dimension of power, and the important costs to states if they neglect it. The latter is a lesson that the Bush administration could have learned and one which many Middle Eastern governments are learning in the wake of the Arab Spring. Changes in the perceived legitimacy of power can have major effects even if material and coercive abilities remain the same."
Mark L. Haas, Duquesne University
"'Power' - a term too often subject to imprecision and flabby usage - is, in Martin Smith's hands, a means to understanding the core dynamics of international politics. States remain central - and American primacy, so often written off in light of China's rise to global prominence, is seen as an enduring reality. But this is a primacy that is social as much as material, and hence it has to be earned and exercised wisely. The US cannot simply go it alone, and neither - the Bush era would suggest - should it. Smith weaves these themes expertly within a grand narrative of global political change. But his panoramic overview of the post-Cold War world does not give rise to abstraction. This book's greatest virtue is its accessibility. Rarely have I read such a lucid treatment of its core subject. If the reader needed reminding why power still matters, then start here."
Mark Webber, University of Birmingham
"A complex research unveiling the enigma of power. The book provides detailed theoretical analysis of US and Russian power phenomena supported by case studies and profound knowledge of actual political practice. The thought-provoking prognosis on the challenges originating from rising and reviving powers adds value to the book."
Dmitry Polikanov, PIR Center - the Russian Center for Policy Studies