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Rise to Globalism Paperback – September 1, 1997

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Editorial Reviews


An excellent survey of U.S foreign policy Library Journal --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Stephen Ambrose and Douglas Brinkley are both Professors of History at the University of New Orleans.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Revised edition (January 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140268316
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140268317
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #882,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Scott Esposito on January 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is an excellent jumping off point for any student of international relations and is quite possibly the best book available for someone who simply wants to know more about American history in the 20th century.
The latest edition of this book (up through Clinton's first term as president) covers roughly 58 years of American foreign poicy in 428 pages; since an entire set of books could easily be written about this period there is going to be a good deal that Ambrose glosses over and skips. If you are looking for detail about any one period in American history, look elsewhere. But if you simply want a map of what has been going on in foreign policy then you will be hard pressed to do better than this book.
"Rise to Globalism" is definitely written from an historical perspective; it reads like a narrative and as such has only the smallest bit of analysis. While this book rates very highly in providing a sense of what has been happening, there is not much to inform you about the political theory, ideology, or trends that underlied decisions that American leaders made in foreign policy. This is not so much a criticism of "Rise to Globalism" (as there is only so much that can be fit into one book); instead take it as a way to differentiate this book from other worthy foreign policy titles that you may be choosing from.
Ambrose's prose is excellent and engaging; often I would read large chunks of this book in one sitting. Admittedly a lot has been going on in world politics and to his credit Ambrose knows what is substantial enough to include, and what details to leave to the reader to seek for herself. This helps the book immeasurably, as it rarely gets bogged down in unnecessary detail.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 16, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is a classic! Simply the best single volume account of American Foreign Policy I have ever read. Ambrose writes in a clear and concise way, leaving nothing out yet avoiding dry, dull text. His analysis is suburb, his conclusions lucid and thought provoking. This is the book to read if you want a comprehensive overview of America's foreign policy of the past 60 years.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Abraman on March 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
I read the first edition of this book in 1989 as part of required reading in college. I've never been interested in history before I read this book. This book taught history in such a way that you will realize that past is important to move forward. I read it with the same enthusiasm I always have for good fiction. A must read for anyone who wonder how the USA become a major power broker in the world.
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23 of 30 people found the following review helpful By J. Strackman on August 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
I read the 7th edition (published in 1993) while I was in college taking a U.S. Foreign Policy Course. I am nowadays a High School History teacher.

The book is filled with useful information laid out in a clear and understandable way. I've seen many an interview with Ambrose, and I could almost hear his voice reading it to me.

However, there are obvious biases toward an agenda (which I am still not sure what the agenda is.) Ambrose rips apart basically every President since World War II. He basically holds them responsible for not having 20/20 hindsight. In other areas, he criticizes them for over-reaction...and then will criticize them for not doing enough. You can't have it all ways. He also tends to rely on looking at short-term outcomes instead of long-term. He spends most of the book criticizing containment...but ends the book by saying that the Truman Doctrine was correct.

Ambrose seems to have a serious distaste for Reagan and Johnson. He seems to believe Carter was an ideological idiotic President that ended up doing the exact opposite of everything he stood for. Believes Kennedy was naive and being led/misled by the people around him. (He attributes similar things to Reagan.) He seems to have the most admiration for Nixon. I don't get the feeling he liked Nixon as a person, but as a President, his administration was probably most up to the task of running a super-power.

I also found the Reagan chapter interesting. He bashes Reagan for spending on defense (weapon spending) at the expense of the deficit. the next chapter he claims that Bush didn't spend enough on defense and that defense spending has been falling too much.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Calandro on November 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a great book for those looking to understand the United States' position in the world today. Ambrose and Brinkley are two critically acclaimed authors who have an excellent grasp on America in the 20th century.

The current edition of the book covers the period from 1938 to the first Clinton administration. The authors provide a good explanation of all major military conflicts and foreign policy decisions the U.S. made during those years. Note, however, that this book only covers U.S. foreign policy and deals very little with domestic policy and events. Ambrose and Brinkley do an excellent job connecting major themes in American foreign policy, such as containment and the Truman Doctrine, to the actions Presidents and Secretaries of State and Defense made.

The book is an excellent overview for casual readers and historians looking to understand American foreign policy over the last sixty years. Sentences are kept brief and to the point. The chapters flow with a good narration of events and in a chronological order. Ambrose and Brinkley, while not providing a bibliography, do provide some good suggestions for further reading. Overall, this is an excellent starting point for casual historians and students of modern U.S. history concerned with foreign policy.
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