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Politics Among Nations, Brief Edition [Paperback]

Hans Morgenthau , Kenneth Thompson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1, 1992 0070433062 978-0070433069 1
For more than four decades, Politics Among Nations. has been considered by many to be the premiere text in international politics. This brief edition--edited by Professor Morgenthau's former research assistant--features the same themes, including national interest and power, that are commonplace among practitioners of foreign policy.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages; 1 edition (July 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0070433062
  • ISBN-13: 978-0070433069
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #279,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
87 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Politics as Real as it gets... May 27, 2003
I was taught politics initially by a professor from the University of Chicago who studied under Han J. Morgenthau, who used Morgenthau's book, Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace as his primary text. Later, when I taught politics, I found that this text was a bit too advanced for the calibre of beginning undergraduate students (my, how the standards, they slippeth...) but was useful for a third-year course in international relations.
This book is heavy in history and philosophy as well as a more 'pure' political science; these are not disconnected subjects, and should not be treated as such. Morgenthau was one of the giants of international thought, having trained many (directly or through texts) of the last generation of political scientists, who rarely have a neutral opinion on Morgenthau. Very much an adherent of the Real Politick, and addresses the question of framework and theory at the beginning of the text:
Morgenthau, throughout this work, strives to work against the idea that international politics in particular, and politics more generally, can be derived simply from philosophical or abstract points, and must be grounded in the imperfect and very human dealings at hand. He outlines six principles which guide this political realism:
1. There are objective laws that govern politics, rooted in human nature.
2. The main force driving international politics is the concept of interest defined in terms of power.
3. This key concept is universally valid and objective, but does not have the same meaning fixed once and for all.
4. Political realism is aware of the moral significance of political action.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic of political realism November 28, 1999
Hans Morgenthau is, together with E.H.Carr, among the key 20th century thinkers who studied international relations and developed what is today called classical realism (as opposed to structural- or neo-realism - see Kenneth Waltz). Classical realism claims an ancient ancestry beginning with the History of the Peloponesian War by Thucydides, and including thinkers like Maciaveli and Clausewitz, as well as Ralf Niebur. Briefly, the proponents of this line of thinking claim that 1) states are the only actors of significance in international relations; 2) that because there is no single world government, international relations are characterized by self-help- if states wish to survive they should ever be ready for war; 3) 'power' in this sense becomes both a means (to survival) and an end in itself -- states struggle to aggrandize their power; 4) because of all this, international relations are primarily a realm of conflict, not cooperation; 5) this sorry state of affairs stems from the evil nature of man which is essentially unchangeable (see St. Augustine, City of God, for a forceful argument in this vein). Given all this, Morgenthau claims that any politician who does not take the above points seriously is acting under dangerous delusions. Because most statesmen do act in this way, he, says, reading his book will allow the reader to be able 'to look over the shoulder' of any leader and understand their decisions. Whether one agrees or not with these views, the book is indispensible for any serious student of international politics. For further interest one may wish to read both scholars who have advanced the realist tradition in international relations in new directions (see esp. Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics; Robert Jervis, Perception and Misperception... Read more ›
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bible of International Relations April 18, 2000
If you've ever studied foreign policy or international affairs, you're familiar with the ideas and theories of Hans Morganthau, even if you don't realize it. He defined power for this field (no, really-- his definition of power is the accepted standard in the field), and much of modern international affairs theory is based on his ideas. This book is written as a textbook, but a rather readable one. For serious students of international affairs, much of the contents of the book may seem like a review, but I still found several ideas that were new to me. For beginners or those who simply wish to increase their knowledge of world politics, this book may seem like a somewhat dense read, but it will teach you 90% of modern international affairs theory. Well worth the money and the effort.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The World Leaders' Guide to the World March 7, 2006
Forget about the clowns on cable television news shows that are always yelling at each (no matter what their and your politics are).

Forget about Oprah, Dr. Phil, Maureen Dowd (even though she's always very sultry), Noam Chomsky, etc. Forget about Rush Limbaugh, the Christian Coalition, the lunatic professor in Colorado (whatever his name is). Most of all, forget about Tom Friedman (author/NYT columnist -- read my review on THE WORLD IS FLAT for my views on him).

Do you want to know HOW the world works in terms of international relations? Read this book.

Do you want to know WHY it works that way? Read this book.

The concepts and ideas in this book cover the fundamentals, but it doesn't just gloss over them... it covers them in detail and from all angles... and, by doing so, the reader will get a clearer and firmer understanding of current events, governmments' actions and non-actions, etc.

Why does this book continue to endure in value? Because it focuses on the fundamentals of action/non-action and the reasons "why." It is NOT about the flavor-of-the-month topic. It's a no-nonsense book and comes with serious analyses, thoughts, theories, conclusions and arguments.

I'd recommend this book to readers of all stripes, whether you're a pacifist, lunatic fringe, status quo conservative, environmentalist, obsessed with human or animal rights (or both), etc.

After you read this book, you'll never watch the news channels or read the paper the same way ever again.

The "old testament":

1- Politics Among Nations (Morgenthau)

2- On War (Clausewitz)

3- The Federalist Papers (Hamilton, Madison, Jay)

4- The Prince and The Discourses (Machiavelli)

5- The Twenty Years' Crisis (Carr)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Politics Among Nations: A statecraft and national security classic
Morgenthau is an essential foundation for anyone interested or occupied in international relations or national security. Read more
Published 4 months ago by James E. Toth
5.0 out of 5 stars Morgenthau is more relevant than ever
International relations is always an interesting topic, never more so than in today's post-Cold War environment. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Kenneth B. Gilman
4.0 out of 5 stars Politics among nations: the struggle for power and peace
This is a well written, clear and sharp presentation of the philosophy of political realism in international relations. It is a classic in its field. Read more
Published on May 27, 2011 by rae desmond jones
4.0 out of 5 stars Real realism
Well explained, well argued consensus on the realist point of view and why we must adopt such a view for our forgein policy.
Published on March 24, 2011 by Mike Hartnett
5.0 out of 5 stars The Classic Guide to International Politics
When Hans Morgenthau's now-classic work first appeared in 1948, it put forth a "Realist" theory of international politics and quickly became the most influential book on the... Read more
Published on October 7, 2007 by Eric Gartman
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic realist work in international politics
This is one of the fountainheads of the classic realist view of international politics. He disagrees with the idealist view of world politics, defined as (page 3) belief "that a... Read more
Published on June 16, 2007 by Steven A. Peterson
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
This book by Morgenthau is nevere olding classic. Even today it gives answers to many questions about what is going on among states. Read more
Published on March 10, 2006 by Zhuravleva Viktoria
5.0 out of 5 stars Concise and eloquent
I originally bought this book for a class that has nothing to do with my major field of study. Two semesters later, I still find myself quoting from it. Read more
Published on May 10, 2005 by Pseudonym
5.0 out of 5 stars The bible of modern American foreign policy
This is an essential read for anyone who wants a deeper understand of American foreign policy. A year after this book was published, there were over a hundred reviews. Read more
Published on June 9, 2003 by "political-economy"
4.0 out of 5 stars very interesting introduction into international relations
Hans Morgenthau is the "Iching" of all international relations authors. He sets the precedents for all future relations with his analysis of the political environment... Read more
Published on July 20, 2001 by Jason W. Atwell
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