Janus and Minerva: Essays in the Theory and Practice of International Politics

In This Review

Janus and Minerva: Essays in the Theory and Practice of International Politics

By Stanley Hoffmann
Westview Press, 1987
457 pp. $39.95

Putting together a collection of random and long-forgotten articles to make a book and pad a professor's list of publications is an old trick. In this instance, however, there is much to be said for the device, since the articles have not become stale and some are new in the sense that their prior appearance was in French publications or was restricted to a very limited readership. As a whole they represent a body of thought on international relations that is remarkably consistent even as it has evolved over the years. Covering a host of specific topics, with principal stress on system and order in international relations, security in the nuclear age, European-American relations and U.S. foreign policy, they reveal Hoffmann as a political philosopher in the mold of the late Raymond Aron, to whom he acknowledges a considerable debt. Hoffmann is no ideologist. He recognizes the ambiguous nature of international relations in both theory and practice-hence Janus; at the same time he does not shun normative prescription infused, he hopes, with wisdom-hence Minerva. Like those in the discipline who come under his sharp criticism, he is nothing if not controversial. Incidentally, George Weigel in his book Tranquillitas Ordinis deplores what he sees as Hoffmann's baleful though indirect influence on the directions taken by Catholic thought on war and peace in the past 20 years (see below).

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