America in the World: A History of U.S. Diplomacy and Foreign Policy

Twelve. Aug. 2020. 560p. ISBN 9781538761304. $35. POL SCI
Zoellick (Harvard Kennedy Sch. of Government) served as White House Deputy Chief of Staff for George H. W. Bush, Deputy Secretary of State for George W. Bush and, later, President of the World Bank. This experience contributes to his insightful survey of U.S. diplomatic history. Here, he focuses on his choice of five diplomatic traditions: the geopolitical importance of North America; trade, transnationalism, and technology; alliances and international order; public and congressional support; and the purpose of the United States in the world. Zoellick uses these themes to assess the foreign policy approaches of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. He finds them insufficient compared with 19th and 20th century politicians, such as John Hay and George Marshall, and especially compared with Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Zoellick thoroughly critiques diplomatic successes and failures, and one of the great values of his work is the rediscovery of underestimated presidents (e.g., John Quincy Adams, Harry Truman), underappreciated diplomats (Henry Clay, Cordell Hull), and unsung heroes (William L. Clayton, Lucius Clay).
VERDICT Through this comprehensive book, readers will gain a deeper understanding of the United States and its place in the world.
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