The Tragedy of American Diplomacy

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W. W. Norton & Company, 1988 - Political Science - 334 pages
11 Reviews
One of the first modern historians to integrate economic realities into the study of American foreign policy, William Appleman Williams has been a diplomatic historian of major influence since the first publication of The Tragedy of American Diplomacy. In this pioneering book, "the man who has really put the counter-tradition together in its modern form" (Saturday Review) examines the profound contradictions between America's ideals and its uses of its vast power, from the Open Door Notes of 1898 to the Bay of Pigs and the Vietnam War.

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Review: The Tragedy of American Diplomacy

User Review  - Joe Solomon - Goodreads

Interesting take on the Open Door Policy and the lasting effect it had on US society. Williams defends his view that American diplomacy is tragic pretty well, using solid evidence. The book can be ... Read full review

Review: The Tragedy of American Diplomacy

User Review  - Brandy - Goodreads

Read this for a grad class. I found this book thoroughly enjoyable, due to Williams' unbridled bias and anger. For those same reasons, though, I wouldn't recommend this book to someone who didn't ... Read full review


Imperial Anticolonialism
The Imperialism of Idealism
Chapter j The Rising Tide of Revolution
The Legend of Isolationism
Chapter The War for the American Frontier
The Nightmare of Depression and

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About the author (1988)

The leading "revisionist" historian during the years of the cold war, William Appleman Williams played a major role in shaping the perceptions of a generation of young historians. His best-known book, The Tragedy of American Diplomacy (1959), established themes he would pursue throughout his career as a writer and a teacher---the contradictions between ideals and "practicality" in the conduct of U.S. foreign policy and the centrality of economic factors in the nation's world outlook. Product of a solidly rural Iowa background and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Williams nonetheless became a figure of controversy because of his unconventional, often iconoclastic, observations about the American experience and his subjection of capitalism to a searching criticism that borrowed freely from Karl Marx, even as it rejected doctrinaire Marxism. At a time when most historians subscribed to a generally benevolent view of the nation's past and of its role in world affairs, Williams's freewheeling critiques often irritated the older generation of scholars. Yet they also opened the way for younger historians to break from the "consensus" school of history and enter into previously unexplored pathways to the American past.

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