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6 Books for Students Obtaining a Master of Arts in International Relations

Careers in international relations often involve frequent communication between individuals representing a wide variety of cultures and policies. This is especially true for those with an interest in government positions, as the landscape of international politics is extremely diverse. Analyzing published books and textbooks from leading scholars that highlight ethnic relations, the dynamics of public interests, as well as the more complex points of globalism and foreign policy can help international relations students and professionals better equip themselves for current and future success within the field.

Rise to Globalism: American Foreign Policy Since 1938 by Stephen Ambrose & Douglas Brinkley

Through the combined efforts of Stephen Ambrose, an American historian and Presidential autobiographer, and Douglas Brinkley, author and history professor, Rise to Globalism: American Foreign Policy Since 1938 offers a brief, compelling overview of how American foreign policy has developed from 1938 to present day. Rise to Globalism focuses on major events that occurred during this time period, such as World War II, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam Conflict, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Ambrose and Brinkley also briefly touch on events that were of less global concern, such as the Iran-Contra scandal. The examples provided within Rise to Globalism can help students and professionals within international relations build perspective on the progression of American foreign policy and where it may be headed in the future.

Nation of Nations: A Narrative History of the American Republic, 6th ed. by James West Davidson, Brian DeLay, Christine Leigh Heyrman, Mark Lytle, Michael Stoff

America may be one of the world’s youngest countries, but it has a rich history with numerous events that offer lessons of how practical diplomacy and collaboration between nations can benefit governments in the long term. In Nation of Nations, James West Davidson, a historian and full-time writer, combines political and social history to craft a well-balanced narrative of America’s past. With time, several co-authors have also been enlisted to elaborate on recent events in American history for newer editions of the book. This sixth edition features new co-author Brian DeLay, who offers additional insight on pre-colonial history. This most recent edition also introduced several new resources, such as a redesigned and updated map of the U.S. and interactive online software, which may be useful to a student pursuing a Master of Arts in International Relations degree.

Perception and Misperception in International Politics by Robert Jervis

In this book, Robert Jervis establishes a distinct perspective on the role of perception and misperception in the development of international politics. He mainly explores the psychology of leaders and the problems that can occur when they make decisions without a complete understanding of a particular situation. To illustrate this point, Jervis breaks down past international events like the Gulf War and Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Jervis notes that in these two examples leaders from both the United States and Iraq may have been operating under a cognitive bias that led them to place significant value on information that wasn’t entirely credible. His outlook on the importance of perception is highly relevant in today’s international space as it is continuously important for international relations professionals to master their ability to evaluate large scale events and situations from a variety of perspectives before committing to any actions.

American Foreign Policy: The Dynamics of Choice in the 21st Century by Bruce Jentleson

Bruce Jentleson is one of the must-read authors working in the field of international relations. Serving as a Foreign Policy Advisor to former presidential candidate Al Gore, Jentleson has developed an informed perspective on modern international relations, particularly how American foreign policy relates to the international environment. Now a leading scholar in the field, Jentleson uses American Foreign Policy to address foreign policy strategy and politics, while also urging students to develop an appreciation for the problems that the United States faces in the international landscape. He does so by employing a four-part lineation which he titles the four Ps: Power, Peace, Prosperity, and Principles. The fourth edition of this textbook, published in 2013, includes an examination of recent foreign policy changes and other political initiatives that can provide valuable insight to an international relations student.

American Diplomats: The Foreign Service at Work by William D. Morgan & Charles Stuart

As career diplomats, William D. Morgan and Charles Stuart have hands-on experience that gives them the insight to accurately answer the question, “What does the American diplomatic corps actually do?” In American Diplomats: The Foreign Service at Work, Morgan and Stuart present excerpts selectively captured from a batch of over 1,400 oral interviews that answers the question by detailing acts of American diplomacy from 1920 through the late 1990s. These excerpts include first-hand accounts of events revolving around Germany in the 1930s, Imperial Japan, the Cold War, the communist movements, and even instances of violence against the American diplomats themselves. Each account is told from a perspective that places the reader at the center of the situation, allowing for a deeper understanding of the depicted events and their respective outcomes. By developing an increased understanding of the history of the American diplomatic corps and developing skills essential for American diplomacy, international relations students can begin preparing themselves to understand how current world events can quickly impact the global space.

The Politics of United States Foreign Policy, 5th ed., by J. Rosati & James A. Scott

United States foreign policy is generally composed through the process of assessing the needs of the state and weighing them against the risks of imposing controversial policies. The Politics of United States Foreign Policy offers an informative overview of the patterns that heavily impact American policymaking. The discussion uses three levels of analysis to thoroughly demonstrate how factors, such as the President’s ability to lead, public demand for democratic involvement, and national security, can quickly modify the course that policymakers take when drafting new foreign policy. In this 5th edition, J. Rosati & James Scott have compiled numerous assessments, questions, tables, figures, and examples for readers aiming to expand their understanding of United States foreign policy, especially for how it corresponds to the grand scheme of international relations in the present day.

A career in international relations demands that students and professionals understand the intricacies of foreign affairs and how it should be approached to minimize miscommunication and conflict. To address such situations effectively, it is important that international relations professionals and students build a deep understanding of foreign policy, cultural development, and international history by studying the work of leaders in the field.

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As the nation’s oldest private military college, Norwich University has been a leader in innovative education since 1819. Through its online programs, Norwich delivers relevant and applicable curricula that allow its students to make a positive impact on their places of work and their communities.

Our online Master of Arts in International Relations program offers a curriculum that evolves with current events to help you face the future of international affairs. Norwich University’s master’s degree in international relations covers many subjects to give you

a look at the internal workings of international players, examine the role of state and non-state actors on the global stage, and explore different schools of thought. You can further strengthen your knowledge by choosing one of five concentrations in International Security, National Security, International Development, Cyber Diplomacy, or Regions of the World.

Recommended Readings
The Do’s & Don’ts of Peace Negotiation
Career Outlook: Foreign Service Specialist


Rise to Globalism: American Foreign Policy Since 1938, Stephen E. Ambrose & Douglas Brinkley

Nation of Nations: A Narrative History of the American Republic, James West Davidson, Brian DeLay, Christine Leigh Heyrman, Mark Lytle, Michael Stoff

Perception and Misperception in International Politics, Robert Jervis

American Foreign Policy: The Dynamics of Choice in the 21st Century, Bruce W. Jentleson

American Diplomats: The Foreign Service at Work, William D. Morgan & Charles Stuart

The Politics of United States Foreign Policy, J. Rosati & James A Scott

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