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Politics Among Nations [Hardcover]

4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic of political realism Nov. 28 1999
Hans Morgenthau is, together with E.H.Carr, among the key 20th century thinkers who studied international relations and developed what is today called classical realism (as opposed to structural- or neo-realism - see Kenneth Waltz). Classical realism claims an ancient ancestry beginning with the History of the Peloponesian War by Thucydides, and including thinkers like Maciaveli and Clausewitz, as well as Ralf Niebur. Briefly, the proponents of this line of thinking claim that 1) states are the only actors of significance in international relations; 2) that because there is no single world government, international relations are characterized by self-help- if states wish to survive they should ever be ready for war; 3) 'power' in this sense becomes both a means (to survival) and an end in itself -- states struggle to aggrandize their power; 4) because of all this, international relations are primarily a realm of conflict, not cooperation; 5) this sorry state of affairs stems from the evil nature of man which is essentially unchangeable (see St. Augustine, City of God, for a forceful argument in this vein). Given all this, Morgenthau claims that any politician who does not take the above points seriously is acting under dangerous delusions. Because most statesmen do act in this way, he, says, reading his book will allow the reader to be able 'to look over the shoulder' of any leader and understand their decisions. Whether one agrees or not with these views, the book is indispensible for any serious student of international politics. For further interest one may wish to read both scholars who have advanced the realist tradition in international relations in new directions (see esp. Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics; Robert Jervis, Perception and Misperception... Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bible of International Relations April 18 2000
If you've ever studied foreign policy or international affairs, you're familiar with the ideas and theories of Hans Morganthau, even if you don't realize it. He defined power for this field (no, really-- his definition of power is the accepted standard in the field), and much of modern international affairs theory is based on his ideas. This book is written as a textbook, but a rather readable one. For serious students of international affairs, much of the contents of the book may seem like a review, but I still found several ideas that were new to me. For beginners or those who simply wish to increase their knowledge of world politics, this book may seem like a somewhat dense read, but it will teach you 90% of modern international affairs theory. Well worth the money and the effort.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Political Realism in the Modern World? Feb. 2 2001
I used this book for a class in International Relations last semester, and I must admit that I was quite impressed. Morgenthau provides us with a sound and instructive discussion of the way international politics is functioning from a realist ponit of view; he also supports his argument with nice and useful examples. I do think, however, that he occasionally goes into extremes and uses terminology that does not entirely apply to the present day international situation, which might render his work somewhat incomplete. I believe the problem lies in the relevance of these issues to the modern political world: now that the Cold War is at least officially over, a new approach to politics is needed to fill in the gaps that Morgenthau fails to address. One might also encounter problem with the readability of some of the chapters, especially if not a native English speaker like me, but, all in all, it is well written and structured. I would recommend this book as an absolutely necessary reading for everybody pursuing interests in international politics.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A standard for any International Relations Major May 15 1998
By A Customer
This book was a "standard" for any International Relations Major in the 1970's or 80's, despite the fact that the first printing was in 1948. Don't expect this book to go into an in depth analysis of any current facts, because it doesn't. But the six rules of Political Realisim seem to apply as well today (in 1998) as they did when I originally read it, in 1985. If you are in college taking international relations courses, and haven't read this book, buy it and read it yourself, trust me, it will help you make sense of everything else, and it might just impress a professor or two.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The New Testament of Real-Politik Sept. 13 1999
By A Customer
Forget about this book if it matters for you to have happy endings at movies; but ignore it at your own peril. Morgenthau has captured the essence of political realism many times over in this book. His calm, controlled and authoritative exposition of the power relations between states makes "Politics Among Nations" one of the best "non-fiction" publications of the century. For the academically minded it is an easy read, for a student of political realism a must.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
the elegance and power of this book transcends time. it tries to look beyond the superficials of international relations to grasp its essence. although you might disagree with the author's conclusion that it's the consideration of power that drives international relations, you can't help being deeply affected by his cogent thesis and masterful analysis of history. a fundamental for realists, a must-read for everyone who is a serious student of international relations.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Book President Obama Neglected to Read
Morgenthau's synopsis of the machinations of geopolitics is a fascinating read against the backdrop of the changing face of world hegemony today. Read more
Published on Oct. 13 2009 by J. Rush
4.0 out of 5 stars very interesting introduction into international relations
Hans Morgenthau is the "Iching" of all international relations authors. He sets the precedents for all future relations with his analysis of the political environment... Read more
Published on July 20 2001 by Jason W. Atwell
5.0 out of 5 stars My confession
Firstly, I haven't read this text-yet. However, when I do, it will be one of the earlier versions. This is because this text was recommended to me, by name, at a conference I... Read more
Published on July 2 2001 by Peter
5.0 out of 5 stars THE standard for International Relations Theory
I was assigned this book and I must say it is one of the few I read and actually enjoyed, clear and to the point it serves as a perfect primer of the system that exists today. Read more
Published on Nov. 27 1999 by "caficho"
2.0 out of 5 stars Academically boring
I was assigned to read this work as a student in Prof. Thompson's International Relations 101 class at the University of Virginia. Read more
Published on July 28 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars The classic on 20th century Foreigh Relations
This book, and "The Prince", and "Common Sense",and are together all you need for a complete political library. Read more
Published on Nov. 25 1998
1.0 out of 5 stars does this book ever end
if you are a college student like me you expect books to get straight to the point..i was assigned to read the book and i had to stop after 40 pages because i had no idea what i... Read more
Published on Aug. 15 1998
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