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Perspectives on International Relations

Perspectives on International Relations
Power, Institutions, and Ideas

May 2011 | 616 pages | CQ Press

Even in the best of times, political debate about world events is rife with polarizing disagreement. In an increasingly wired world, how can we help students separate fact from opinion, to parse arguments and apply reasoned analysis? With its even-handed presentation of realism, liberalism, constructivism, and critical theory and comprehensive coverage of all of the major concepts in IR, Perspectives on International Relations gives students the set of analytical tools they need to become effective readers and thinkers about the world’s most urgent issues.

Making sense of today’s world events means being able to read beyond the headlines.

Perspectives on International Relations combines comprehensive coverage with class-tested, fully integrated critical thinking pedagogy to teach students how to “read between the lines.”

These are features your students won’t skip—they’re too useful and engaging:

  • “Using the Perspectives to Read Between the Lines” boxes model critical reading, showing students how to identify and think through the viewpoints playing out in contemporary debates;
  • “Perspectives and Levels of Analysis” tables help students track the ways each perspective interprets events from the individual, domestic, and systemic levels;
  • “Parallel Timelines” exhibit how the perspectives preference different events, from the origins of WWI to the current era;
  • “Spotlight” icons highlight when key concepts in IR (e.g., alliances, anarchy, balance of power) are at work in historical or contemporary cases;
  • “Causal Arrow” icons point to when a perspective is emphasized over others in explaining the cause of an event; and
  • A marginal glossary defines every key term in the book.

What’s New?

The book’s distinctive approach has been sharpened, with refined discussion of the major viewpoints in IR. Chapters have been streamlined so that key points are crystal clear. Every chapter has been fully updated and features the latest in world affairs and advancements in scholarship with:

  • coverage of the global financial crisis, explaining in straightforward terms the operation of global debt, derivatives, and currency markets, as well as the interconnection of domestic, trade, and investment policies;
  • closer examination of new dynamics in ethnic conflict and terrorism;
  • a look at the contrast between the foreign policy orientations of the George W. Bush and Obama administrations;
  • discussion of the debate surrounding the Millennium Development Goals and the latest findings related to global governance, climate change, and population movements;
  • deeper analysis of international institutional changes, such as the G-20 summits and the redistribution of voting rights in international economic institutions; and
  • new insights on human rights, including women’s rights in Muslim countries and the growing role of NGOs in holding repressive regimes accountable.

What Remains the Same?

The book’s value price. With a suggested retail price of $76.95, Nau costs your students $20 to $80 less than the leading competitors—without skimping on coverage, currency, content, or ancillaries.

The main contribution of the book is to articulate a solid and
logical sequence of methods, theories and history, giving students
insight into the economic and political challenges arising from
globalization. Students find in this book the instruments to link the
world of political ideas to sets of facts in international relations.
Professors are reminded of their perennial scholarly duty to teach
students how to assess competing worldviews to explain every aspect of
international relations. In sum, this is one of the most comprehensive
textbooks in our field

Roberto Dominguez
Suffolk University

Striking just the right balance in content and readership level, Professor Nau’s Perspectives on International Relations
has been well received in both my graduate and undergraduate seminars.
The extensive application of classical and contemporary international
relations theories to key global issues, core concepts and
methodological problems has furthered students’ understanding and
appreciation of the complexities of international relations. Moreover,
Nau’s text has served as an indispensable review for my graduate
students preparing for comprehensive exams in the field

Waltraud Morales
University of Central Florida

World politics is an exceedingly complex subject, and the
myriad ways scholars study and teach it make it seem still more complex.
More than most textbooks, Henry Nau's helps students by imposing some
order on this complexity. The seriousness with which Nau takes history;
his clear treatment of political economy as well as of international
security; and above all his applications of three major schools of
thought - realism, liberalism, and constructivism - make this a superb

John Owen
University of Virginia

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