in the series Key Concepts in American History

by Dianne L. Durante

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When this book first appeared, in 2010, I published the following note, which still holds true.

I announce, with mixed feelings, the recent appearance of a book with my name on the title page: Internationalism, in the series Key Concepts in American History. It’s a high-school text on American foreign policy from World War II until ca. 2000. I wrote it as work for hire 2 years ago.

The idea for the series seemed a good one: a set of 10 books to be used as supplementary texts for high-school students, each giving an overview of a major issue (2500 words) followed by shorter essays (500-2000 words) on specific topics. The topics in my volume, which were chosen by the series editor, range from “Atlantic Charter” through “Democracy and Human Rights” to “Yugoslavia, Breakup of.”

At least 2 editors (non-Objectivists) had whacks at the manuscript. They were the sort who firmly believe that no high-school student can comprehend a polysyllabic word or a compound sentence. They also edited the content, albeit in a rather haphazard, concrete-bound fashion. The opening lines of the entry “Iraqi War of 2003,” which ought to be an essentialized summary of the topic, now include the statements that Iraq was “mistakenly believed by some to be accumulating weapons of mass destruction” and that the war “grew increasingly unpopular with the American people.”

On the other hand, the editors let pass, almost unaltered, 3 pages discussing 1) the distinction between direct democracy, representative democracy, and democracy under communism or socialism, and 2) the difference between individual rights as used by the Founding Fathers and economic or social rights.

I cannot wholeheartedly recommend Internationalism, particularly at the list price of $45 for 118 [!] pages. I suspect there are some appalling editorial changes that I haven’t even noticed yet, since I haven’t had the brute discipline to do an autopsy of the finished product. I learned a tremendous amount while writing it. Those who need a broad survey of American foreign policy in the second half of the 20th century may find it useful.