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Publisher's Summary

Ranging from Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson to Henry Kissinger, Ronald Reagan, and James Baker, America in the World tells the vibrant story of American diplomacy.

Recounting the actors and events of US foreign policy, Zoellick identifies five traditions that have emerged from America's encounters with the world: the importance of North America; the special roles trading, transnational, and technological relations play in defining ties with others; changing attitudes toward alliances and ways of ordering connections among states; the need for public support, especially through Congress; and the belief that American policy should serve a larger purpose. These traditions frame a closing review of post-Cold War presidencies, which Zoellick foresees serving as guideposts for the future. 

Both a sweeping work of history and an insightful guide to US diplomacy past and present, America in the World serves as an informative companion and practical adviser to listeners seeking to understand the strategic and immediate challenges of US foreign policy during an era of transformation.

©2020 Robert B. Zoellick (P)2020 Twelve

Critic Reviews

"An extraordinary contribution to the history of American foreign policy, told from the perspective of a wise and pragmatic practitioner. A great read." (Joseph S. Nye, author of Do Morals Matter?: Presidents and Foreign Policy from FDR to Trump)

"Robert Zoellick's AMERICA IN THE WORLD both educates and entertains. Unlike many other sweeping works of history, Zoellick puts his subjects - rather than theories or frameworks - at the center of his book, using stories to both captivate his reader and illuminate meaningful trends in American diplomacy. He presents a different and compelling lens through which to consider nearly two centuries of American foreign policy - that of pragmatism. As a diplomat, historian, and pragmatist himself, Zoellick identifies enduring U.S. foreign policy traditions and offers a welcome reminder that for much of the country's history, the perception of American exceptionalism has animated U.S. actions in the world, mostly for good. At a time when the global order is under such strain, AMERICA IN THE WORLD provides a much-needed anchor to those who are rethinking America's role in the world and will be responsible for crafting it." (Meghan L. O'Sullivan, Jeane Kirkpatrick professor of the practice of international affairs and author of Windfall)

"An outstanding history of US foreign policy by one of its leading practitioners. Zoellick grasps the essence of the debates over America's role in the world, and shows the constant interaction between global developments and the approaches of US policymakers. It is a diplomatic history for the 21st century, grounded in the practical lessons of centuries past." (O.A. Westad, Yale University)

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