The American Encounter: The United States and the Making of the Modern World: Essays from 75 Years of Foreign Affairs

James F. Hoge, JR., Editor, Fareed Zakaria, Editor HarperCollins Publishers $37.5 (15p) ISBN 978-0-465-00170-5
With the advantage of hindsight, Foreign Affairs editor Hoge and managing editor Zakaria have distilled 75 years of their journal. The 42 essays--written, of course, without the benefit of hindsight--make for a compelling overview of the major political and economic issues of our time. A few pieces have their own historical importance, such as George Kennan's 1947 ""X"" article, which outlined the policy of Soviet containment by the West. Anyone comfortable with the dense and occasionally arcane prose of this collection will probably have no need for the brief filler at the introduction to each section. Readers will have the impression that contributors to Foreign Affairs were indeed prophets: Karl Kautsky condemns the 1918 Versailles treaty for ""bringing again to life the ideas of armed opposition and revenge""; Arnold Toynbee warns in 1939 that Britain and France have given Hitler a ""free hand in Central and Western Europe""; Julian Benda criticizes U.S. isolationism for ""peace at any price"" only months before Pearl Harbor. The final section presents a number of unproved claims, e.g., technology will increasingly undermine the sovereignty of nations. Time will tell whether these theories are as immortal as those that precede them in this thought-provoking collection. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
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Paperback - 676 pages - 978-0-465-00171-2
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