In This Review

Eagle Adrift: American Foreign Policy At the End of the Century
Eagle Adrift: American Foreign Policy At the End of the Century
Edited by Robert J. Lieber
Longman, 1997, 335 pp.
The New Shape of World Affairs: Contending Paradigms in International Relations
The New Shape of World Affairs: Contending Paradigms in International Relations
By
Foreign Affairs, 1997, 296 pp.
American Foreign Policy: Theoretical Essays, 2nd edition
American Foreign Policy: Theoretical Essays, 2nd edition
Edited by G. John Ikenberry
HarperCollins, 1996, 682 pp.
Major Problems in American Foreign Relations: Documents and Essays, 4th edition, 2 vols
Major Problems in American Foreign Relations: Documents and Essays, 4th edition, 2 vols
Edited by Thomas G. Paterson and Dennis Merrill
D.C. Heath, 1995, 1331 pp.

Edited collections with numerous contributors are to be approached warily, for it is impossible to describe them, much less say anything intelligent about them, in brief compass. Yet readers -- and professors -- looking for manageable overviews to complicated subjects cannot do without them. Suffice it, therefore, to note that each of the volumes listed above, all newly revised and expertly edited, are fine introductions to different aspects of the recent scholarship on U.S. foreign policy. To Lieber one might turn for an up-to-date and comprehensive tour of the background to contemporary policy; to Ikenberry for the work of political scientists with powerful theoretical visions and a penchant for systematic explanation; to Paterson and Merrill for some of the most interesting recent work in American diplomatic history (although the latest edition unfortunately skimps on documents and unwisely omits the chapter on the diplomacy of the American Civil War). This reviewer's work is included in the last-mentioned text; having already advanced into one conflict of interest, he is determined to fly headlong into another, and make a right out of two wrongs, by saying that the new collection from Foreign Affairs represents a great improvement over previous editions, with well-known essays by Francis Fukuyama, John Mearsheimer, and Edward Luttwak from other journals nicely rounding out debates that have largely unfolded in these pages. Put together with the idea of cornering the college market -- and thereby attempting, absurdly, to entice those fresh people away from the true objects of their enticement -- all these volumes are nevertheless of great value for both the general reader and the serious scholar.