- Paperback: 244 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial; 450th ed. edition (March 25, 1964)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061311227
- ISBN-13: 978-0061311222
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Twenty Years' Crisis, 1919-1939: An Introduction to the Study of International Relations 450th ed. Edition
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E. H. Carr's classic work on international relations published in 1939 was immediately recognized by friend and foe alike as a defining work. The author was one of the most influential and controversial intellectuals of the 20th century. The issues and themes he developed continue to have relevance to modern day concerns with power and its distribution in the international system. Michael Cox's critical introduction provides the reader with background information about the author, the context for the book, and its main themes and contemporary relevance.
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He covers all of the competing philosophies that precluded WWI:
• Utopian Ideologies versus those of Realism
The book discusses the main international actors (both individuals and nation states) that promoted the utopian ideology versus those that promoted the ideology of realism. Carr thoroughly compares the two ideologies and offers a critique of both. He shows how the push and pull of these two ideologies manifested through military conflict, economic conflict and ultimately lead down a path that started WWI and then, ultimately, lead to “international cooperation”.
The stage for this international cooperation was the science of International Relations. The conceptualization of International Relations as an idea really began after WWI. This is when the nation states of the world were motivated into looking at things on an international level.
The book is meant to be academic in nature so at times it can get a little esoteric. Never the less, it really does an excellent job in highlighting the progression of ideologies that lead to The Great War. It is a great introduction on a myriad of topics that the reader can use as a jumping off point for additional research or casual reading. To me, the sign of a good book is one that makes you think and makes you want to go out and read other books related to the main topic.
In conclusion, I really liked the book, especially the first two-thirds of the book. The only reason I am not giving it 5 stars is because it gets a little circular/repetitive at times and I feel like his conclusion was a little unresolved.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in this topic, or anyone that is looking for research material related to this time period (topic).
But E.H. Carr preceded both these fine gentlemen, and Carr is at his finest here displaying a sarcastic wit and overall nasty tone in ripping apart the overly idealistic liberal position adopted by Wilson, Kellogg or Briand, who really thought that world peace could be had through ineffectual action via international organizations and lots of talking between nations.
Carr, in true realist guise (pre-Morgenthau, at least), doesn't elaborate on any principles that could be used to form a coherent theory. But the strengths of this book are in helping those who don't fully appreciate why WW2 came about understand the failure of liberalism, and in entertaining those of us in IR who are bored with the standard IR readings. This book is hilarious, and is certainly worth reading. Just don't expect it to be terribly profound.