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A Concise History of U.S. Foreign Policy Paperback – January 16, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0742567108 ISBN-10: 0742567109 Edition: Second Edition

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A welcome addition to texts on U.S. foreign policy. The book provides a very comprehensive and yet succinct overview of theories, the history of U.S. foreign policy from the founding of the country, and a contemporary analysis of foreign policy and considerations for the future. The inclusion of a feminist analysis, which is often neglected in most texts, is also appreciated. The writing is very accessible to students, linking their own lives to how and why foreign policy matters to them. (Kristen P. Williams, Clark University)

Teachers of American foreign policy often struggle to find the right balance between diplomatic history and contemporary policy debates. In a short and highly readable text, Joyce Kaufman gets the balance just right and provides an anchor for building effective classroom discussions about where we have come from and where we might be headed. (Robert Strong, Washington and Lee University)

A very good, concise summary suitable for undergraduate students in U.S. International Relations. (Andrew F. Clark, University of North Carolina, Wilmington)

About the Author

Joyce P. Kaufman is professor of political science and director of the Center for Engagement with Communities at Whittier College.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; Second Edition edition (January 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0742567109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742567108
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,012,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Donald J. Sage on April 27, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Joyce Kaufman explains the choices made by the people in charge of American foreign policy from the beginning to now and tells why the choices were made. Stripped of ideology and rhetoric she tells the story simply but without patronizing the reader. She explains the dominating ideas behind the choices and the domestic and international economic and political influences that helped to determine the choices. A good read.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By foreignpolicylover on March 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book may be appropriate for a high school class room, but it is inappropriate for a college level class. It is overly simplistic, makes huge generalizations, and completely ignores huge parts of America's foreign policy. While I realize that it is supposed to be "concise," it is concise to the point of being misleading. It barely touches on the role of economics and the power the U.S. exerts through the IMF, the World Bank, and foreign aid. It looks at only the biggest events that everybody already knows about-Vietnam, Iraq, Somalia, etc. If you want to learn something new or interesting, buy another book. Plan Colombia? Not mentioned even once. Propping up dictators in countries around the world? Not here. If you want to educate a 9th grader on foreign policy, this is a good book, but if you want to educate a college student, buy something more critical, with more depth.
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Format: Paperback
This book is little more than a regurgitation of the mainstream historical record pertaining to U.S. foreign policy--and it fails even in that effort. Kaufman's writing is rife with odd, back-loaded sentence structuring, cliches, and jargon. The book seems to have been published with little or no editorial review. Additionally, Kaufman is aggressively undynamic and unchallenging in her description of major historical events related to American foreign policy. Each chapter concludes with a "What Would You Do If?" section that is as bland and conventional as it sounds. In a field with innumerable works of excellent scholarship and high-quality writing, this lazy, imprecise volume is to be avoided at all costs.
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I would have to say I quite enjoyed Kaufman's book. Being a political science major, you often find yourself being caught up in difficult to read journals and books. However, Kaufman does an extremely good job of using simple language to discuss how history has shaped our current foreign policy and how we can look to shape it in the future.
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