Most helpful positive review
228 of 229 people found the following review helpful
Very good, but still needs some work
on August 29, 2009
Foreign Affairs is an excellent journal on all aspects of foreign policy, written primarily from the perspective of those who are intimately involved in creating and promoting that policy. The list of authors for any given issue often reads like a who-is-who of the top echelons of US diplomacy - Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, and Condoleezza Rice are just some of the names that have offered their views and opinions on the pages of this journal over the years. As can be seen from these names, Foreign Affairs is a truly non-partisan journal and a wide variety of points of view are regularly presented. The main criterion of publication is that the topics are contemporaneous and relevant. Recently, however, there has been a tendency to include topics that are traditionally not considered to be a part of mainstream diplomatic and foreign policy concerns, but these topics usually account for just a fraction of the whole journal. The quality of writing and analysis is generally very high, but the articles are not technical and are geared towards informed non-experts. Sometimes these articles are indeed just a distillation of the views and opinions that could have been gathered from the pages of the press in general, but even in those cases it is useful to get a unique point of view of an actual bona fide protagonist of the great game of diplomacy. In those instances, just like in diplomatic writing in general, it is important to read between the lines.
A few notes on Kindle edition. Since Foreign Affairs has a print format that closely resembles a paperback novel, it was to be expected that it would translate well into Kindle format. Indeed, from my experience thus far this has been the case. However, there are a few important caveats. The Kindle edition does not offer an easily browsable table of content. Instead, one jumps from one article to another with the help of Kindle's "joystick." Unlike Kindle books, this journal does not have the locations so it is not easy to see how far into any given article have you read. It also lacks bookmarking, although you can still write notes and make highlights. Also, if you have an iPhone or an iPod touch Kindle software, you will not be able to download it to those devices.
The price for the Kindle Edition is reasonable. One should be aware that the $1.99 is the price of monthly subscription, and not a price per issue. This is important because Foreign Affairs is a bimonthly journal so the total price per issue is $4, which translates to about $24 per year. If you shop around you can save a few dollars on the annual subscription price, but you may decide that having Foreign Affairs delivered to you wirelessly wherever you are is a nice feature and worth a few extra bucks. Unfortunately, the Kindle subscription does not include the access to the Foreign Affairs online archives, so if you are interested in doing some long-term research you will probably be better off with the print subscription for now.