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Realpolitik: A History


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Table of Contents

Introduction Part I: Real Realpolitik 1. The origins of Realpolitik 2. Foundations of Realpolitik 3. Realpolitik and Bismarck: a fatal compromise? 4. Realpolitik after Rochau Part II: Anti-realpolitik and the Anglo-American Worldview 5. The English Discovery of Realpolitik 6. American Realpolitik 7. The Coming Peace and the Eradication of Realpolitik Part III: Inter-war Realpolitik 8. The Ingestion of Realpolitik 9. Germany and the New Realpolitik 10. Machiavelli's Return? Realpolitik, Fascism and Appeasement Part IV: The Americanisation of Realpolitik 11. America's Awakening: Geopolitics and the Ethics of American Statecraft 12. Realpolitik through the Back Door? The Role of the Emigres 13. Bismarckism and Anti-Bismarckism Part V: Practical Realpolitik 14. Reluctant Realpolitik in the Cold War Era 15. Realpolitik in the Nixon-Carter Era 16. Wither Realpolitik? The End of the Cold War and Beyond Conclusion: Why we need a Renaissance of Realpolitik

About the Author

John Bew teaches history and foreign policy at the War Studies Department at King's College London. Previously he was a Lecturer in Modern British History at Cambridge. In 2013 he was named to the Kissinger Chair at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress. He is the author for four books, most recently Castlereagh: A Life.


"An interesting and wide-ranging examination of [the term 'realpolitik']." --The American Conservative "By taking us back to the origins of Realpolitik John Bew shows how a long-established strategic concept doesn't mean what we thought it meant, and in the process throws new light on the history of thinking about international affairs." --Sir Lawrence Freedman, Emeritus Professor of War Studies, King's College London, author of Strategy: A History "[A] well-researched, fluently written, and groundbreaking book." --Commentary Magazine" "One of Bew's most valuable services to scholarship in the book is in tracing the intellectual development of the European emigres like Hans Morgenthau and Arnold Wolfers who helped stimulate the postwar American school of realism in international-relations theory." --The National Interest "[A] heavily researched, readable and comprehensive review of political and diplomatic history." --Wall Street Journal "Bew's book is a fascinating biography of an idea." --Washington Free Beacon "[A] fascinating quest to refine our understanding of yet another semantic import from Germany - the concept of realpolitik . . . In its careful, evenhanded, analysis of one of the Western world's most consequential intellectual traditions, Professor Bew's book harks back to the finest tradition of British scholarship, bringing to mind the work of people such as Lawrence Freedman, Hew Strachan, or Michael Howard. In fact, this reviewer can think of no better companion volume to this future classic than Howard's seminal work on Europe's other great foreign policy tradition - liberalism." --War on the Rocks "Lively, encyclopedic, and utterly original." --New Books Network "So thorough is Bew in recounting the history of the use of the word (realpolitik) that it is difficult to imagine that there is much left to discover." -- The Weekly Standard "Realpolitik is one of those words that everybody uses but nobody understands. In this thoughtful, lucid and deeply researched book, John Bew shows how debates over its meaning helped shape some of the biggest foreign policy debates of the last 150 years. Anybody who cares about power, war and diplomacy in the modern world needs to read this book." --Walter Russell Mead, James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College and Professor of American Foreign Policy at Yale University "There are so many high points in the book that one is spoiled for choice...Bew's is an account that will be returned to again and again for illumination on the most protean, occasionally incoherent but nonetheless successful riposte, if not to liberalism at home, certainly to liberalism abroad." --International Affairs "Lively, encyclopedic, and utterly original, Realpolitik illuminates the life and times of a term that has shaped and will continue to shape international relations." --ew Books Network "Here the real realpolitik is principled but prudent, knowing thoroughly the existing circumstances that give rise not only to the limits of statecraft but also to its possibilities." --The Weekly Standard "The discussions triggered by Realpolitik: A History are conveniently timely as Britain considers whether it should remain in the European Union, as the British Labour party quarrels over whether its leader's "new politics" is realistic or desirable, and as the Democratic Party decides on what reality is realistic; Bernie>'s or Hillary>'s. Bew provides advice for all involved in these struggles. The book's concluding chapter, in particular, should be required reading for those who find themselves in these simplified battles between ideals and reality; politics is ultimately the effective marriage of both." --The Strix "It would be a mistake, Bew's analysis implies, to interpret such competing uses of the term as merely reflecting differing evaluations of Realpolitik. For the story he tells is one of ambiguity, contestation, and transformation in what the term denotes." --H-Net Reviews

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