Years of Peril and Ambition: U.S. Foreign Relations, 1776-1921 (Oxford History of the United States)

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9780190212469: Years of Peril and Ambition: U.S. Foreign Relations, 1776-1921 (Oxford History of the United States)
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Praised in the New York Times Book Review for its "Herculean power of synthesis," George C. Herring's 2008 From Colony to Superpower has won wide acclaim from critics and readers alike. Years of Peril and Ambition: U.S. Foreign Relations, 1776-1921 is the first volume of a new split paperback edition of that masterwork, making this award-winning title accessible to those with a particular interest in the first half of the United States' history.

This first volume of Herring's international narrative charts the rise of the United States from a loose grouping of British colonies huddled along the Atlantic coast of North America into an emerging world power at the end of World War I. It tells an epic story of restless settlers pushing against weak restraints; of explorers, sea captains, adventurers, merchants, and missionaries carrying American ways to new lands. It analyzes countless crises, some resulting in war and others resolved peacefully. Above all, it is the tale of United States' expansion, commercial and political, across the North American continent, into the Caribbean and Pacific Ocean regions, and, economically, worldwide. Herring brings this first segment of America's dramatic emergence as a superpower to a close with the United States' post-World War I rise to the status of the world's most powerful nation, poised -- however unsteadily --for global engagement in what would be called the American Century.

Years of Peril and Ambition highlights the ongoing impact of the nation's international affairs on the household names of U.S. history but also on ordinary citizens. Featuring a grand cast of characters, encompassing statesmen and presidents, diplomats and foreigners, and rogues and rascals alike, this fast-paced account illuminates the central importance of foreign relations to the existence and survival of the nation.

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About the Author:


George C. Herring is Alumni Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Kentucky. A leading authority on U.S. foreign relations, he is the former editor of Diplomatic History and a past president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. He is the author of America's Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975 and LBJ and Vietnam: A Different Kind of War, among other books.

Review:


"The strength of this book is the author's Herculean power of synthesis...Herring recaptures a quarter-millennium of American foreign policy with fluidity and felicity...we have long been waiting for a single-volume history like this one, and "From Colony to Superpower" deserves a place on the bookshelf."--New York Times Book Review


"Its first achievement is its feat of inclusiveness, managed by making quick work of many interesting subplots of the United States' rich and complex relations with the world...The narrative power lies partly in identifying themes that gradually give a strong organizational cohesion to his story...It is revisionism of the best kind, quiet but insistent, reinforced by archival evidence and deftly drawn parallels."--Howard W. French, The New York Times


"An impressive, up-to-date diplomatic history of the US that masterfully employs traditional, revisionnist, and in many instances synthetic interpretations in a story line from Colonial America to the second Bush administration.... This will be an award-winning book that becomes the standard text for US diplomatic history. A superb accomplishment. Essential."--C.W. Haury, CHOICE


"The only volume in the series that spans the entirety of the American past, From Colony to Superpower could not be more timely, more colorful, or more compelling for Americans seeking to understand the causes and the consequences of the quagmires in Afghanistan and Iraq. Herring is well equipped to provide that analysis."--The Chronicle of Higher Education


"A sweeping and lucid history...This authoritative work is destined to grace the bookshelves not only of scholars, but also of nonspecialists who want to understand how the US has engaged the world from the American Revolution to the administration of George W. Bush."--Christian Science Monitor


"A model of clarity."--Dallas Morning News


"This latest entry in the outstanding Oxford History of the United States is continually engrossing in its overview of American diplomacy... Herring's lucid prose and thought-provoking arguments give this large tome a pace that never flags."--Publishers Weekly starred review


"The only themed volume so far in the 'Oxford History of the United States' series, this work portrays the history of the world's foremost republic through the prism of its international interactions. Striking is the emergence, through Herring's clear and compelling storytelling, of certain themes in the way the United States has conducted and still conducts itself among nations...Highly recommended for both public and academic libraries."--Library Journal


"A magisterial look at 232 years of diplomacy."--Reviews in American History


"Magisterial."--National Interest


"A mammoth volume that tracks the vagaries of American foreign policy over more than two centuries. It is encyclopedic in its reach, but remains a pleasurable read. Herring's goal is more to explain than judge, and he performs the former with admirable skill."--Global Research


"George Herring's colossal history of US foreign relations has earned fully-deserved praise for its staggering erudition, lucid prose and brisk style."--The National


"Impeccably written and deeply researched."--The Veteran: The Official Voice of Vietnam Veterans of America


"Riveting."--The Post and Courier


"The purpose of this ambitious and massive work is to track and explain how 13 separate, vulnerable British colonies evolved to carve out a position of dominance in world affairs. This is the latest volume in the Oxford History of the United States series...Herring effectively dismisses the myth of American isolationism. Even before our Revolution, Americans had strong economic ties with several European powers, and our diplomatic efforts were essential in facilitating the westward movement. Herring also deftly deals with the often-conflicting strains of idealism and pragmatism that have motivated our policy makers. Patient and well-informed general readers will find this well worth the effort."--Booklist


"In this splendidly detailed account, George Herring expertly guides us through the rich and fascinating story of America's foreign relations. This is history on a grand scale, clearly and elegantly rendered. Anyone who wants to understand how the United States has come to occupy its current place on the world stage should read this magisterial book."--Fredrik Logevall, co-author of A People and a Nation


"Readers of his work knew that George Herring's review of U.S. foreign policy would be scrupulously fair-minded but may not have anticipated so broad a sweep and so deeply felt an analysis. In swift and highly readable prose, Professor Herring explains us unforgettably to ourselves."--A. J. Langguth, author of Our Vietnam


"Authored by a distinguished historian of American foreign policy, this is a landmark work in its scope, clarity of writing, depth of research, and significant interpretations of, among others, the 'myth' of historic American isolationism, the revealing relationships between how Americans behave at home and how they behave abroad, a most bittersweet Cold War, and the centuries-long dependence of Americans on beliefs in their supposed exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny. It offers a most rewarding lesson about how the history of U.S. foreign policy is to be examined, if not always, given the policy's often tragic results, praised."--Walter LaFeber, Cornell University


"George Herring's well-paced, readable, and up-to-date history of U.S. foreign relations will be the authoritative account for this generation."--Emily S. Rosenberg, University of California, Irvine


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