Good books on history of US foreign relations?
December 8, 2006 3:36 PM   Subscribe

Anyone have any suggestions for insightful, well-written books on the history of U.S. foreign relations?
posted by Malad to Law & Government (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Well, it depends a bit on what you mean. I would strongly recommend Promised Land, Crusader State by Walter McDougall for a brilliant overview of the different traditions that have informed U.S. foreign poicy - but it's not a comprehensive history the actual conduct of the U.S. in international affairs (though of course there's plenty of that in there, too). I'm not sure that such a comprehensive history exists, and in any even I think McDougall's book would very much enrich any other reading you might do on the subject. It is both insightful and well-written - you could do a lot worse than starting here.
posted by Dasein at 3:57 PM on December 8, 2006

A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn might fit the bill. It is not, however, without an axe to grind. It has a definite leftist/Marxist slant. While that suits me just fine, it does rub some people the wrong way.
posted by lekvar at 4:20 PM on December 8, 2006

Here's a couple recommendations from diplomatic historians (i.e. historians of foreign policy) on H-DIPLO:

Jerald A. Combs, The History of American Foreign Policy
Howard Jones, Quest for Security: A History of U.S. Foreign Relations (two volumes)
Gerald Clarfield, United States Diplomatic History (two volumes)
posted by russilwvong at 4:44 PM on December 8, 2006

Y'know, that's one of the reasons I so rarely answer questions, people like russilwvong beat me to it. Seconded.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:54 PM on December 8, 2006

Here is the suggested reading list for the Foreign Service Exam. Plenty of good sources to be found there.
posted by Pollomacho at 4:08 AM on December 9, 2006

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