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American Diplomacy Announces


The editor and publisher of American Diplomacy announce an inquiry which we hope will elicit thought, comment, and maybe some controversy. We invite you, our readers, to send us your compilation of a top ten list of studies you consider most important in — following the focus and title of this journal — the field of diplomacy as it relates to the United States.

The rules are simple and few:

  1. Submit titles of up to ten books; no more, please.
  2. We prefer one-volume studies — no reference works.
  3. You should focus on American diplomacy, primarily of the twentieth century.

One way to look at the competition is to envision the ten studies, probably monographs, that you would find essential for your own library if marooned on a desert island or the ten must works that you would recommend to a serious student of the topic and period.

That’s all there is to it. Send in your nominations by e-mail. Your list with your name (and affiliation, if desired) will appear in a forthcoming issue of the journal, as well as any comments or questions that you may care to submit about the lists of others.

Join in!

To lead off, the editor, book review editor, and a member of the parent corporation’s board of directors have prepared independently their own nominations to the American Diplomacy Significant Books Competition. Take a look. Their lists, reflecting to some extent personal research interests, may give you ideas for one of your own.

First, the list, alphabetically arranged by author, of a distinguished diplomatic historian and member of the journal’s board of directors. This selection we follow with one by the book review editor of American Diplomacy, and finally, that of yours truly, the journal’s editor.

Michael H. Hunt, Ph.D.
Emerson Professor of History
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC, USA

  1. John Dower, War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War (1986).
  2. Raymond L. Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation: American-Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan (rev. ed., 1994); [Can I cheat and get in a second volume that is in effect paired? Garthoff, The Great Transition: American-Soviet Relations at the End of the Cold War(1994)].
  3. Piero Gleijeses, Shattered Hope: The Guatemalan Revolution and the United States, 1944-1954 (1991).
  4. George C. Herring, The Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975 (3rd ed., 1996).
  5. George Kennan, Memoirs, vol. 1: 1925-1950, (1967).
  6. Richard F. Kuisel, Seducing the French: The Dilemma of Americanization (1993).
  7. Walter LaFeber, Empire for Opportunity, 1865-1913, vol. 3 of The Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations, ed. Warren I. Cohen (1993).
  8. Melvyn P. Leffler, A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration and the Cold War, 1945-52 (1992). [A more accessible rendering of this volume is in Leffler’s The Specter of Communism: The United States and the Origins of the Cold War, 1917-1953 (1994)]
  9. Emily Rosenberg, Spreading the American Dream: American Economic and Cultural Expansion, 1890-1945 (1982).
  10. William Appleman Williams, The Tragedy of American Diplomacy (1959, republ. 1962, 1972, 1988).

Rorin M. Platt, Ph.D.
Book Review Editor, American Diplomacy
Peace College, Raleigh, NC, USA

  1. Thomas A. Bailey, The Man in the Street: The Impact of American Public Opinion on Foreign Policy (1948, 1964).
  2. Wayne S. Cole, Roosevelt and the Isolationists, 1932-1945 (1983).
  3. Robert Dallek, Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 1932-1945 (1979).
  4. John Lewis Gaddis, The United States and the Origins of the Cold War, 1941-1947 (1972).
  5. John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America (1999).
  6. Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones, The CIA and American Democracy (1998; first publ. 1989).
  7. George F. Kennan, American Diplomacy (1951, 1953).
  8. Ernest R. May, The World War and American Isolation (1959).
  9. Hans J. Morgenthau, In Defense of the National Interest: A Critical Examination of American Foreign Policy (1951).
  10. William Appleman Williams, The Tragedy of American Diplomacy (1959, republ. 1962, 1972, 1988).

Henry E. Mattox, Ph.D.
Editor, American Diplomacy
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA

  1. Robert Dallek, Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 1932 – 1945 (1979).
  2. John Lewis Gaddis, The Long Peace: Inquiries into the History of the Cold War (1987).
  3. Felix Gilbert, To the Farewell Address: Ideas of Early American Foreign Policy (1961).
  4. George Herring, Americas Longest War: the United States and Vietnam 1950- 1975 (3d ed, 1996).
  5. Michael H. Hunt, Ideology and U. S. Foreign Policy (1987).
  6. George F. Kennan, American Diplomacy 1900-1950 (1951, 1953).
  7. __________, Russia and the West Under Lenin and Stalin (1962).
  8. Walter LaFeber, America, Russia, and the Cold War (7th ed. 1993).
  9. Arthur S. Link, Woodrow Wilson: Revolution, War, and Peace (1979).
  10. Ernest R. May, Imperial Democracy: The Emergence of America as a Great Power
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