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Rise to Globalism: American Foreign Policy since 1938

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A survey of America's foreign policy from 1938 through to President Clinton's second term in 1995. Included in the text is commentary on Reagan's deal with Iran in 1980, Bush's deal with Iraq up to the invasion of Kuwait, the Middle East peace talks and the collapse of Soviet Union.


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A survey of America's foreign policy from 1938 through to President Clinton's second term in 1995. Included in the text is commentary on Reagan's deal with Iran in 1980, Bush's deal with Iraq up to the invasion of Kuwait, the Middle East peace talks and the collapse of Soviet Union.

30 review for Rise to Globalism: American Foreign Policy since 1938

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lazarus P Badpenny Esq

    This felt like a book of two halves. What began as a detailed and seemingly thoroughly researched study of American foreign affairs sadly began by the Nixon years to seem merely generalised and opinionated. But without doubt it was the worst example of proof-reading that I've ever encountered: errant commas, dollar signs transposed by random numerals, non-sensical sentences (in one case the word 'create' is replaced by 'cremate') not to mention unnecessarily sloppy colloquialisms. Arguably the in This felt like a book of two halves. What began as a detailed and seemingly thoroughly researched study of American foreign affairs sadly began by the Nixon years to seem merely generalised and opinionated. But without doubt it was the worst example of proof-reading that I've ever encountered: errant commas, dollar signs transposed by random numerals, non-sensical sentences (in one case the word 'create' is replaced by 'cremate') not to mention unnecessarily sloppy colloquialisms. Arguably the insouciant editing and inelegant prose gives the text a degree of accessibility however this was certainly not the 'classic' I had been led to expect.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ian Sims

    I believe that this book will be of primary interest to two groups of individuals: those who enjoy American history and horny teenagers trying to learn the right and wrong approaches to romantic relationships. --American History Buffs-- While there are no shortage of extraordinary books that take deep dives into specific moments in American history, Globalism stands out from the pack by showing the cause and effect relationships that bring history to your doorstep. This is a book that tracks for I believe that this book will be of primary interest to two groups of individuals: those who enjoy American history and horny teenagers trying to learn the right and wrong approaches to romantic relationships. --American History Buffs-- While there are no shortage of extraordinary books that take deep dives into specific moments in American history, Globalism stands out from the pack by showing the cause and effect relationships that bring history to your doorstep. This is a book that tracks foreign policy from 1938 (I read the title because I'm super smart, yo) through the election of Barack Obama. Many Americans can feel that history is often this unrelated mass that is difficult to attach to today's policies. They don't understand the complicated international relationships (both good and bad) that American finds itself beholden to at present. Globalism ties it all together. For that reason, I couldn't recommend this book more highly for those familiar with American history texts and those looking to maybe dip their toes in the water. In 1939, on the eve of World War II, the United States had an army of 185,000 men with an annual budget of less than $500 million. America had no entangling alliances and no American troops were stationed in any foreign country. The dominant political mood was isolationism. America's physical security, the sine qua non of foreign policy, seemed assured, not because of American alliances or military strength but because of the distance between America and any potential enemy. The book is written in a reasonably casual tone, so readers will not get lost in the pedantry. My one complaint would be the liberal bias that begins to appear in the final chapters. I'm a liberal progressive and I did vote for Barack Obama. I remember the optimism and upheaval that overcame the country in the months leading up to and following Obama's first term election. That being said, in a book that sticks very closely to policy, I think many conservative readers will be bothered by the liberal tone that the book takes at its current end. Perhaps in future editions this will be tampered down. Oh wait! Two complaints. There were a significant number of typos throughout the book. It was frankly an unacceptable amount. BUT! They didn't take away from the content. If you're someone who really really cares about a perfectly edited book, well, this one might make you tear your hair out. --Horny Teens-- Yo, what up, home dawgs? This book here? It's basically a dating manual. You want to know what a bad breakup looks like? Just read about the strategies taken during the Cold War. You thinkin' 'bout gettin' a side piece? Calm down, Reagan, and read about how the Iran-Contra Affair went. No keeping secrets, kiddos. And you know how you have that friend that keeps starting fights and you keep backing them up? Like, every damn time? Well, that's basically America and our little buddy Israel (we gotchu, bro). Spoiler: Don't get too attached to Kennedy.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    THERE ARE SO MANY F*-#KING TYPOS IN THIS BOOK. Apologies for the profanity, but dear Lord, who edited this thing?! Paragraphs split in the middle of a sentence, misspellings, random commas, missing capital letters....someone was clearly asleep at the wheel in proofreading this thing. Beyond just typos, there was also a lot of bad or confusing phrasing and awkward sentences that really brought down the level of the book, stylistically. So one star off for some poor writing. The other star I took o THERE ARE SO MANY F*-#KING TYPOS IN THIS BOOK. Apologies for the profanity, but dear Lord, who edited this thing?! Paragraphs split in the middle of a sentence, misspellings, random commas, missing capital letters....someone was clearly asleep at the wheel in proofreading this thing. Beyond just typos, there was also a lot of bad or confusing phrasing and awkward sentences that really brought down the level of the book, stylistically. So one star off for some poor writing. The other star I took off because, especially toward the end of the book, the author interjected his opinion a little too much, which just didn't seem appropriate to the type of book this was. He also sometimes tried to be poetic or make a point and exaggerated actual historical fact when doing it, which bothered me. For example, introducing the chapter on the September 11th attacks, he wrote about how little Americans cared about the flag prior to 9/11: "Strange now to remember how we used to take the America flag [yes, that's not my typo, my edition of the book has it as the "america flag"...] for granted during the Cold war. It was omnipresent--even planted on the moon--but never truly appreciated as a banner of unity....[the flag] offered no dazzle or meaning. It was a blase symbol that life in the United States was business as usual." And then he goes on to talk about how much meaning the flag gained after 9/11. Um, what? Sure, the flag was imbued with a lot of extra sentiment and meaning after the attacks, but I think the idea that the flag basically meant nothing to Americans before the attacks is ridiculous. Quite a few of our most iconic national images feature the flag (raising the flag at Iwo Jima, the moon landing) and our national anthem is ALL about the flag ("oh say does that star-spangled banner yet wave/o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?"). I thought that was bad history and bad writing. That, plus the fact that the author sometimes made opinionated judgments about certain presidents and policies, made me take off another star. But this was a pretty great summary of American foreign policy in the twentieth century. It's concise, it includes a ton of information, and generally it is decently balanced and objective in its conclusions. It's a very readable book once you get past the typos. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who doesn't know much about American foreign policy. It's a great overview, and I don't regret reading it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    When I think about my experience reading "Rise to Globalism," the one word that comes to mind is "fair," in the sense that the authors don't take a politically partisan stance to Republican or Democrat administrations. This book achieves three purposes: 1) Show the reader how the US emerged as the world superpower, tracing the route from 1938 to the present; 2) Subjectively grade each president and his administration on their foreign policy objectives and whether or not they were achieved; 3) Help When I think about my experience reading "Rise to Globalism," the one word that comes to mind is "fair," in the sense that the authors don't take a politically partisan stance to Republican or Democrat administrations. This book achieves three purposes: 1) Show the reader how the US emerged as the world superpower, tracing the route from 1938 to the present; 2) Subjectively grade each president and his administration on their foreign policy objectives and whether or not they were achieved; 3) Help the reader understand the US's place in the world and potentially understand where the country (and the world) is headed. This book is oriented to those who have trouble understanding how and why the US became the preeminent superpower in the world and for those who might be afraid of overly academic writing. At the same time, the authors draw from a variety of sources and provide a section for extended reading that allows the reader to delve deeper into specific affairs. I started reading this book as a kind of prep for the foreign service exam (it is on the suggested reading list of the State Department), didn't manage to finish it in time for the exam, but continued afterwards and I can say that I have gotten a lot out of it. I recommend it for anyone interested in US foreign policy and also anyone preparing for the same exam (there was one question specifically that I would have gotten wrong if not for this book!).

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tara deCamp

    This book is a decent survey of US foreign policy post-WWII. If you know absolutely nothing about the subject, this wouldn't be a bad primer.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    This is one of those books that I actually remember the precise moment that I first picked it up. I was in college. Some of my friends and I were walking down, I believe, 7th Avenue between Irving and Judah streets late on a Friday night. We had just left the pizza parlor, walking back to our cars, when we passed a bookstore on the east side of the street (I don't know if it's still there). The store was closed, it's green awning drawn back over the peeling green door frame, the lights were all This is one of those books that I actually remember the precise moment that I first picked it up. I was in college. Some of my friends and I were walking down, I believe, 7th Avenue between Irving and Judah streets late on a Friday night. We had just left the pizza parlor, walking back to our cars, when we passed a bookstore on the east side of the street (I don't know if it's still there). The store was closed, it's green awning drawn back over the peeling green door frame, the lights were all out; but, there was this rack of books outside the doorway with a sign that read "free". I remember stopping, thumbing through the books, thinking that "there's never any good books left out for free". My friends were walking off ahead of me, and I was just about to stop picking through the books. Then I saw a little red paperback book with this funny gold emblem on the cover. I read the title, "Rise to Globalism: American Foreign Policy Since 1938", and thought, "now this sounds interesting, I might as well take it, it's free anyways". It turned out to become one of my favourite history books, and one of the few books that I have read more than once. At the time I first read it, the book helped fill in some questions that I had about American history, and led to many more questions. I can almost argue that this book, and the curiosity that it spawned in me, resulted in my decision to pursue a degree in Political Science.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    Exhausting but now I know everything about foreign policy.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tom Dore

    Outstanding!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tyler Horken

    So many typos. I’ve never seen anything like it. Really hard to trust the accuracy and analysis when the editors didn’t even catch errors in spelling and grammar. Assuming that the typos came from people outside of the factual, analytical part of the process, it’s decent. At most points it felt like the subject material was far more interesting than presented here. I think a historian with better writing style could’ve made this such a page-turner; as it is, it reads like a fairly dry textbook.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Walter Alves

    I had to read a chapter from this book for class but was so enthralled that I decided to read the remaining 400 pages. It’s a summary of American foreign policy since 1938, if that sentence alone bored you then you shouldn’t bother. Regardless, this is the only foreign policy book I’ve ever read and felt “enlightened”, there was a lot of information but it was presented in a way that would make a squirrel go “ah!” Books like these that show all the inner workings of historical events are, unfortu I had to read a chapter from this book for class but was so enthralled that I decided to read the remaining 400 pages. It’s a summary of American foreign policy since 1938, if that sentence alone bored you then you shouldn’t bother. Regardless, this is the only foreign policy book I’ve ever read and felt “enlightened”, there was a lot of information but it was presented in a way that would make a squirrel go “ah!” Books like these that show all the inner workings of historical events are, unfortunately, put aside by most people. It’s a sad truth considering that we live in a timeline and reality doesn’t start when we’re conscious of our existence nor does it end when we die. Ambrose and Brinkley gathered helpful observations and added their own pieces of insight, including powerful rhetoric like “the power to destroy is not the power to control.” A lesson America has yet to learn. (See Iraq, Afghanistan, maybe Iran, etc.) There’s an obvious bias in the book, like attributing positive changes in the world during Reagan’s presidency to, well, the world, while attributing positive changes in the world during Clinton’s presidency to his enlargement policy. I can’t help but agree wholeheartedly though, he backed it up well enough. Most of all, I just love that this book is in the History section and makes abundant use of adjectives. History books tend to avoid claiming things are stupid, rotten, superb or extraordinary.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    The quality of the writing and analysis decline sharply in the last half or even third of the text, and the rampant grammatical and spelling errors detracted further from the overall work. The authors seemed to have clear favorites in terms of presidents, and some of their analysis was downright baffling (like shoe-horning blame for 9/11 into the Clinton chapters). Overall, a relatively strong start squandered in later chapters. Very disappointing.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Casey

    An interesting read, but having read about twenty other books specifically in this genre it leaves a little to be desired. I found it to be an excellent way to catch up on holes in my education (i.e. learning more abou the Carter administration) but if you want a great all around book on the rise of globalism and American foreign policy there are better books out there.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    The fact that one can get a copy of Stephen Ambrose's Rise to Globalism at virtually any American used bookstore attests to the overwhelmingly positive reception accorded this synthesis, which by 1983 had gone through 12 reprintings. The success of Ambrose's book may rest in his ability to provide critical judgments of American foreign policy within a balanced framework. As a survey it functions admirably. On contentious issues, Ambrose seems to straddle controversy and approach the golden mean. The fact that one can get a copy of Stephen Ambrose's Rise to Globalism at virtually any American used bookstore attests to the overwhelmingly positive reception accorded this synthesis, which by 1983 had gone through 12 reprintings. The success of Ambrose's book may rest in his ability to provide critical judgments of American foreign policy within a balanced framework. As a survey it functions admirably. On contentious issues, Ambrose seems to straddle controversy and approach the golden mean. Yet his conclusions are often critical of American attitudes and actions. The chapter on the beginnings of the Cold War, for instance, offers a critique of mutual U.S.-Soviet intransigence over the settlement in East Europe. At first glance it appears to be here that Ambrose locates the origin of the Cold War, in mutual hostilities which offer enough "blame" to go around. Though he notes that "there is no satisfactory date to mark the beginning of the Cold War," he strikes a note of inevitability by pointing out that "Russia controlled Eastern Europe. This crucial result of World War II destroyed the Grand Alliance and gave birth to the Cold War." (93) If one reads further, a more critical note becomes audible. Ambrose makes clear that it is certainly understandable that Americans would have been outraged at Soviet actions in Eastern Europe, since "they shut the West out completely. By any standard the Soviet actions were high-handed, their suppressions brutal."(98) The Soviets had every right, however, to expect to control that region as its sphere of influence. The illusion of omnipotence, the false belief that America could influence events even in the Soviet zone is ultimately the "cause" of the Cold War. Truman was the first in a long line of Cold War presidents who would fail to differentiate between American influence and power. "American influence would never be as great as American power. Over the next two decades American leaders and the American people were forced to learn that bitter lesson. American power vilas vaster than anyone else,' s, but in many cases it was not usable power and thus could not be translated into diplomatic victory. Vietnam would be the ultimate proof of American inability to force others to do as she wished, but the process began much earlier, in 1945, with Truman's attempt to shape the course of events in East Europe." (105) What differentiates Ambrose's criticism from that of many of the revisionist writers of the New Left is his lack of a thoroughgoing critique of the American system in his survey. His criticism remains at the level of tactics. In the instance of the beginnings of the Cold War, Truman failed to be sufficiently realistic about Eastern Europe. One senses that Ambrose believes FDR could have done a better job of "dealing" with the Soviets. Stephen Ambrose's chapter on the Korean War concentrates on President Truman's approach to the conflict. Ambrose credits Harry Truman with the institutionalization of the Cold War, a process whereby the strategy of containment was instituted on a global scale. In a manner strikingly similar to Gar Alperovitz, he argues that the Korean War provided the pretext under which Truman solidified America's position in Europe. This Asian war provided the excuse Truman needed for rearming America and NATO (to include Germany). Despite the Europe-fist overtones of the Truman-Acheson strategy in NSC-68, the vision of containment was becoming increasingly global. The Korean War provided the context in which a major shift toward globalism took place. Yet the process of instituting vhat one revisionist on WvJI had called "permanent war for permanent peace" was not without its difficulties. The primary difficulty with the process of institutionalization was that this regularized approach to a high level of peace-time preparedness was quite foreign to the American mind. "Containment had never been very satisfying emotionally, built as it was on the constant reiteration of the Communist threat and the propaganda line that divided the line into areas that were free and those that were enslaved. Millions of Americans wanted to accept their Christian obligation and free the slaves. Other millions waned to destroy, not just contain, the Communist threat, on the grounds that if it were allowed to exist, the Cold War would go on forever, at a constantly increased cost." (181-2) Within this context the conflict between MacArthur and Truman over vlar aims in Korea takes on added importance. MacArthur, seeking to roll back Communism in Asia, questioned the very strategy of Truman's policy of world-wide containment of Communism. Reflecting the popular American frustration with containment, MacArthur became an instant popular hero after his dismissal. Truman, hmvever, won out in the end. Despite tactical defeats, his strategy of containment had been implemented on a global scale. America was in it for the long haul.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joe Ruvido

    Let me qualify my rating of four stars for an otherwise excellent book that weaved a story of America's FP from FDR through Clinton. Perhaps the rating is unfair of me, but I simply can't get past the fact that in the final chapters Ambrose and Brinkley pull the tired right wing blame of Clinton for 9/11, saying that Clinton enforced a no-fly zone above his 2nd inaugural in the wake of the Atlanta Bombings but didn't expand their use which led to 9/11. The blame came out of nowhere, and showed t Let me qualify my rating of four stars for an otherwise excellent book that weaved a story of America's FP from FDR through Clinton. Perhaps the rating is unfair of me, but I simply can't get past the fact that in the final chapters Ambrose and Brinkley pull the tired right wing blame of Clinton for 9/11, saying that Clinton enforced a no-fly zone above his 2nd inaugural in the wake of the Atlanta Bombings but didn't expand their use which led to 9/11. The blame came out of nowhere, and showed their age. They wrote the book's best chapters when they were younger, but when it came time for the edition update that included 9/11 they just couldn’t bring themselves to fully blame the Bush administration for ignoring Bin Laden’s threats after being in power for 9 months before the attacks. Of course we need to look at history in bigger terms than 9 months, but reaching back to this “policy failure” in ’96 is straight out of talk radio. At best, it is an attempt at equivalency and "fairness," but any honest person would not equate the actions in the wake of the Atlanta Bombings with the blatant ignorance of "Bin Laden determined to attack US," under Bush. They also missed the point about the protests against US actions in Latin America. When H.W. Bush sent troops in to Panama to depose Noriega there were protests in the US against US involvement in Latin American affairs. The authors jovially point out the "hypocrisy" of anti-war protesters, whom the authors think would be happier CIA invasion to depose a Noriega instead of boots on the ground in Panama. This misses the point entirely - the people against the war in Panama were ALSO against the CIA's deposing of democratically elected leaders in Latin America like Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala and Juan Bosch in the Dominican Republic. I found the attack a cheap form of “whataboutism.” I learned so much from this book to be overcome by these two petty inconsistencies. For example I never realized how much I admire General Eisenhower. I had heard his Farewell Address about the Military Industrial Complex before, but I didn't realize that he had deep fear of war – not just of the widespread destruction that nuclear weapons would cause, but also of boots on the ground in foreign countries. I think the authors did a great job explaining the thought process that each stakeholder went through when making the decisions. In spite of their later placating of the Bush/Cheney administration, they were rightfully critical of Nixon for sabotaging the peace talks in ’68 in Vietnam which hurt the Humphrey campaign. There are countless other examples of a great telling of history in this book, and I recommend it to anyone albeit with the caveat I started this review with.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kendra Kleintop

    This book is a grand overview of foreign policy actions from 1938 to the early 2000s. I recommend it to readers who have very little previous knowledge of the subjects that arise in this book, as it thoughtfully introduces new material, and goes in depth in order to show the progression of (or rather, rise to) globalism of the United States. From the nuclear bomb debacle in Asia (the part which I found most interesting), and the major decisions of Truman and the German problem, to president Cart This book is a grand overview of foreign policy actions from 1938 to the early 2000s. I recommend it to readers who have very little previous knowledge of the subjects that arise in this book, as it thoughtfully introduces new material, and goes in depth in order to show the progression of (or rather, rise to) globalism of the United States. From the nuclear bomb debacle in Asia (the part which I found most interesting), and the major decisions of Truman and the German problem, to president Carter’s human rights strategy, to the end of president Clinton’s final term. All of which, I knew very little about before reading this book. Although it was necessary to do some outside research on most of the topics the book covers, the book does a wonderful job on its own describing the events, and developing the central ideas of foreign policy changes, at this time. I gave the book 5 stars because, although it was hard, it pushed me to understand the importance of major foreign policy events, and their effect on the rest of foreign policy history. I was able to follow major themes of isolationism, or sometimes internationalism, throughout the book to understand the evolving opinions of the American people, as well as the people all over the world in the time of war. The book is also very easy to follow because it is in chronological order, instead of grouping events by theme, like other similar historical books do. I think that this style by Stephen E. Ambrose helps the book immensely, as it further proves the foreign policy change over time in the United States and the significant rise in globalism. It shows the massive shifts in ideas between presidential terms, as well as other contextual problems. Stephen E. Ambrose also makes a point to remain fairly un-opinionated on the actions of the United States in foreign policy. He gives credit to the United States at some points, which allows the reader to follow those positive themes throughout the book. He also mentions that some foreign policy actions were bad for the United States. This criticism was necessary and helpful in understanding how some poor actions of the US affected the future of the nation. Ambrose develops his claim clearly by the end of the book. After the full account of foreign policy for approximately 60 years, and it is hard to escape the main theme of American economic aggressiveness, racism, and fear of communism shaping the nation’s evolving foreign policy.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dan Jamieson

    Solid history through the Cold War, but editing errors, lack of clarity between the authors' divergent viewpoints, and a deviation from fact to opinion toward the end compromise the work. It's a great survey level of American diplomacy and decision making from WWII through the Cold War, providing a good introduction to many of the challenges faced and the presidents' choices. However, the last edition Stephen Ambrose has copyright on is dated 1997; the 2011 edition must contain additions solely f Solid history through the Cold War, but editing errors, lack of clarity between the authors' divergent viewpoints, and a deviation from fact to opinion toward the end compromise the work. It's a great survey level of American diplomacy and decision making from WWII through the Cold War, providing a good introduction to many of the challenges faced and the presidents' choices. However, the last edition Stephen Ambrose has copyright on is dated 1997; the 2011 edition must contain additions solely from Douglas Brinkley, and I think this is part of the reason for the decline in quality. The Clinton presidency coverage alternates quickly between calling him inept and naieve at foreign policy or brilliant, without explanation about why a change would occur in one paragraph. I sense that both authors had different assessments about Clinton's performance, but rather than melding their work the two visions were just mashed together. It gets worse for George W. Bush, veering far too much into opinion statements and hyberbole, possibly reflecting Brinkley's views. The book almost gets vendetta like before finishing with a one page love letter about Barack Obama. There are plenty of critiques to be made about George W., but they can be done with the same depth of fact and study that the earlier presidents were covered.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Andy Alexis

    A good overview of American Foreign Policy, 1938-2007. It is well written, and the authors have plenty of criticism for pretty much all of the Presidents in that period. There does not seem to be an underlying political agenda. If anything, America's foreign policy is a history of grand mistakes by inexperienced Presidents, with occasional serendipitous successes that seem to occur almost by accident. One other conclusion I have made is that just about all of the Presidents and their Secretaries A good overview of American Foreign Policy, 1938-2007. It is well written, and the authors have plenty of criticism for pretty much all of the Presidents in that period. There does not seem to be an underlying political agenda. If anything, America's foreign policy is a history of grand mistakes by inexperienced Presidents, with occasional serendipitous successes that seem to occur almost by accident. One other conclusion I have made is that just about all of the Presidents and their Secretaries of States, and the underlying aides have lied or intentionally misled the media and the public at one point or another, and all consistently overstate or at times completely imagine the successes they trumpet in public. What is an interested citizen to do? Where should we get our information? Who can we trust? No one, apparently. [Other reviews have mentioned typos and errors: it is true; I saw at least 5 egregious errors in the book. The worst one substituted the word "cremated" for "created": as in "..cremated a lasting peace".]

  18. 4 out of 5

    Stuart Miller

    I read a reprint of the first edition way back when. I liked it a great deal for the clear and even-handed survey of the USA's foreign policy. I was an undergraduate in a small country the conservative leaders of which seemed to blindly follow the 'leader of the free world' no matter where she went. The world was either "with us" or damn commies. This book was a refreshing primer in that it did not shy away from reaching unpopular (for the time) conclusions regarding some of the underlying motiv I read a reprint of the first edition way back when. I liked it a great deal for the clear and even-handed survey of the USA's foreign policy. I was an undergraduate in a small country the conservative leaders of which seemed to blindly follow the 'leader of the free world' no matter where she went. The world was either "with us" or damn commies. This book was a refreshing primer in that it did not shy away from reaching unpopular (for the time) conclusions regarding some of the underlying motivations for foreign intervention - or for expressing the view that periods of US foreign policy did much to needlessly drag the world toward the abyss of nuclear war. Even daring to suggest that not everything was the fault of the Russians. Good books - timely books - can change the way we view the world. There is nothing unusual in that. It's just that it was Ambrose' book that did it for me at the time and I have never forgotten it and I have never thrown this battered Penguin away. That is why I say I really like it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Davidzablotny

    This book should be required reading in the age of Trump, if only for the quotes: "Armaments only bring disasters. When one accumulates them, this damages the economy, and if one puts them to use, then they destroy people on both sides. Consequently, only a madman can believe that armaments are the principal means in the life of society." -Nikita Kruschev, after the Cuban missile crisis. "In politics and strategy, as in economics, monopoly naturally appears to him who enjoys it as the best possib This book should be required reading in the age of Trump, if only for the quotes: "Armaments only bring disasters. When one accumulates them, this damages the economy, and if one puts them to use, then they destroy people on both sides. Consequently, only a madman can believe that armaments are the principal means in the life of society." -Nikita Kruschev, after the Cuban missile crisis. "In politics and strategy, as in economics, monopoly naturally appears to him who enjoys it as the best possible system." -Charles DeGaulle, explaining France's withdrawal from NATO in 1963 But wait, there's more! Background on all the tomfoolery that we call American foreign policy during the 20th Century! Marvel at the cautious nature of Eisenhower, the temerity of Kennedy, the general stupidity of good ol' Dubya! Something for everyone! This book is for those who wish to know their history in order to better understand how to prevent its folly from repeating itself.

  20. 4 out of 5

    E

    At the ripe old age of 21 years old at the time of this review, there is much about this book that is severely outdated. Fundamentalist Islamic terrorism scarcely rates a mention, because 9/11 hadn't happened yet, and for that reason a lot of zoomed-out insights on the foreign policy landscape are simply unavailable. I believe there is only one more edition after this one, and it, too, is now eight years old and therefore also quite outdated. All of that said, and especially as far as coverage of At the ripe old age of 21 years old at the time of this review, there is much about this book that is severely outdated. Fundamentalist Islamic terrorism scarcely rates a mention, because 9/11 hadn't happened yet, and for that reason a lot of zoomed-out insights on the foreign policy landscape are simply unavailable. I believe there is only one more edition after this one, and it, too, is now eight years old and therefore also quite outdated. All of that said, and especially as far as coverage of older epochs go, this book is phenomenal. It is written in an exceedingly accessible manner that provides all of the context you need to know while still assuming you're a relatively learned person. I delighted in the play-by-plays of foreign policy triumphs and embarrassments, and the incisive analysis that accompanied them. I would absolutely love to read an edition of this work updated for 2018.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Neal Hunter

    A solid sprint through American foreign policy and the prevailing sentiments guiding it since WWII to Clinton. I think the authors generalized and glossed over a great deal of details that shaped specific crises and events, but I suppose when you are trying to fit 60 years of policy into 400 pages, some things fall in importance. An excellent resource for someone trying to get a general idea into foreign policy trends, not necessarily a great resource for someone who has a good grip on history a A solid sprint through American foreign policy and the prevailing sentiments guiding it since WWII to Clinton. I think the authors generalized and glossed over a great deal of details that shaped specific crises and events, but I suppose when you are trying to fit 60 years of policy into 400 pages, some things fall in importance. An excellent resource for someone trying to get a general idea into foreign policy trends, not necessarily a great resource for someone who has a good grip on history and US foreign developments over the 20th century. The suggested reading section in the end of the book looks to be an excellent resource as well for anyone who wishes to delve further into specific topics.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Brian Moyer

    Very hard to rate. The amount of typos and grammar errors are laughably mind-boggling. United Sates, random semicolons, and starting a new paragraph between United and States (!!!). The amount of errors are so bad I should ask for some of my money back from Penguin Publishing. Also, the trend toward the end of the book is unsupported opinion, not facts. I'm guessing earlier Ambrose editions of the book were excellent and Brinkley is just a moron. That said, 2/3 of the content is excellent. Best Very hard to rate. The amount of typos and grammar errors are laughably mind-boggling. United Sates, random semicolons, and starting a new paragraph between United and States (!!!). The amount of errors are so bad I should ask for some of my money back from Penguin Publishing. Also, the trend toward the end of the book is unsupported opinion, not facts. I'm guessing earlier Ambrose editions of the book were excellent and Brinkley is just a moron. That said, 2/3 of the content is excellent. Best book on foreign policy I've read, it just goes to pieces after Reagan.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    I felt this was quite a surface book, that didn't get into a lot of the deeper details behind foreign policy decisions (and in fact glossed over some huge black marks of US history). It basically just recaps major foreign events that were probably covered in your high school history class, without going into any detail or root cause. Also, this book is riddled with typos and editing errors. One of the few books I've read where the editing was bad enough to be distracting.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tom Hanlon

    A review in two parts - it’s a solid four stars through Clinton’s first term. An excellent resource and very informative. Starting with Clinton’s second term through Obama’s inauguration the writing became more rushed to the point that I began skimming parts I was super familiar with. As a previous review noted, there are a ridiculous number of type-o’s and they get worse as the book goes on. The copy editor dropped the ball.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marren

    As the title implies, this book provides a lot of information about major historical events in American foreign policy since WWII. But as another reviewer said, it was very biased after the Nixon years. The final chapters were the worst. The author(s) made overbearing opinions which were distracting and ignorant of contradictory facts. Even with that in mind, I'd generally give a book like this 1.5-2 stars, but I give this book 1 star because it was riddled with typos.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Chung

    It’s a good survey of foreign policy in the US. The perspective is strictly from the executive branch, but gives a continuity in narrative that allow the reader to understand the decisions that changed the world. I would read this as a supplement to historical scholarship that already exists on Cold War historiography or American history to

  27. 4 out of 5

    James Wayne

    I really appreciated the analysis of the early cold war period. Rise to Globalism does an excellent job of staying neutral and summarizing. The analysis of more recent history is not as effective, but still worth the read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Silvie

    super interesting and informative, but definitely not the type of book you are drawn to every day. It served the purpose of making me understand better the American foreign policy, but definitely has not been a totally pleasurable experience

  29. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    As far as books that I had to read for class to study for finals go, pretty good. Ambrose does a good job of tracking motivations and actions through history. THAT BEING SAID, dear lord the typos. I got up to 4 blatant typos, not including weirdly worded sentences. Absolutely absurd.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Henry

    A solid overview of American foreign policy that can at times read as dull. The authors exhibit blatant bias towards doves starting in the Nixon chapter. The analysis remains good, but be mindful of assertions (and also the omnipresent typos).

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