Cover image for The Greenwood encyclopedia of international relations
The Greenwood encyclopedia of international relations
Nolan, Cathal J.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, CT : Greenwood Pub., [2002]

Physical Description:
4 volumes (xxiii, 2128 pages) : maps ; 27 cm
v. 1. A-E -- v. 2. F-L -- v. 3. M-R -- v. 4. S-Z.




Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
JZ1160 .N65 2002 V.4 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating
JZ1160 .N65 2002 V.3 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating
JZ1160 .N65 2002 V.2 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating
JZ1160 .N65 2002 V.1 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

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Using humanistic principles to strip away the jargon and narrowness inherent in much of modern-day political scholarship, this historical encyclopedia reclaims the breadth of vision, the privileging of factual evidence over theory, and the moral tenor prevalent in classical political inquiry. Over 6,000 alphabetically arranged entries accompanied by 29 maps make this single-authored set the definitive desktop reference work on international relations and international history. The book's primary focus is upon the rise of the Great Powers and the course of world civilizations, their formative wars and diplomatic, political and economic relations. But a serious effort is made to cover all of the smaller and less powerful regions and their local history, along with how progressive inclusion into the modern state system affected them, both for good and ill. Written with elegant clarity and leavened by healthy doses of professional skepticism and humor, this thoroughly cross-referenced work addresses general as well as specialized readers seeking clear and concise sketches of the topics, simple and complex, that have shaped political and historical developments in our world.

The work takes firm stands on important issues. It is not morally neutral on the meaning of historical persons or events. But it is eminently fair: its standard of objectivity and judgment has been to write aout all nations, religions, and events as a historian without country or religion, in the words of John Quincy Adams. While remaining deeply serious and cognizant of the role of the tragic in human history, this book often displays biting wit and overall personality--a great benefit of the single-author approach. Whether or not readers agree with a given interpretation, they are always paid the deep respect of having their intellect minds and moral consciousness engaged with the deeper meaning of the history of international public affairs.

Author Notes

CATHAL J. NOLAN is Associate Professor of History and Executive Director of the International History Institute at Boston University. His numberous books include the award-winning, four-volume Greenwood Encyclopedia of International Relations (Greenwood, 2002), Power and Responsibility in World Affairs (Praeger, 2004), Ethics and Statecraft (Praeger, 2004), Principled Diplomacy: Security and Rights in U.S. Foreign Policy (Greenwood, 1993), Shepherd of Democracy? America and Germany in the 20th Century (Greenwood, 1992), and the award-winning Notable U.S. Ambassadors Since 1775 (Greenwood, 1997). He also edits the Praeger series Humanistic Perspectives on International Relations , and co-edits the Praeger series International History .

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

From the vast (Anti-Semitism, Containment, Nationalism, World War I) to the particular (Cook, James; Depth charge; Petty officer; Vertical takeoff and landing) and all along the intervening scale, this encyclopedia defines terms, explains the significance of events, identifies influential individuals, and analyzes important ideas in international relations throughout the world. Its temporal scope reaches very selectively to ancient times with entries on Alexander the Great and the Punic Wars; however, the emphasis falls on places, people, events, and ideologies of the past several centuries since the start of the European voyages of discovery. In A^-Z order, more than 6,000 straightforward and clearly written entries range in length from two or three lines to two or three pages. Even brief entries are punctuated by words in italics, the encyclopedia's convention for internal see also references. These cross-references provide historical, political, economic, or theoretical context for topics treated rather narrowly in their own entries. Users are well advised to follow these linkages even though doing so in a print source demands more than clicking a mouse on hyperlinked terms in an online document. The general index adds further depth through extensive subdivision of topics and by differentiating page references for main entries from those for secondary mention of a topic. Some of the longer entries conclude with one or more bibliographic citations to suggested readings. These are cumulated in a general bibliography in an appendix. A series of gray-scale historical maps depicts various regions of the world at key times in their histories. The breadth of scope ensures this set's utility in finding an explanation for little-known facts such as the origins of the term green line as the geographic line separating would-be combatants (derived from the color of a crayon a British UN officer drew on a map in 1964 to separate Greeks and Turks on Cyprus) or an explanation of Birobizhan, a desolate area on the Chinese-Soviet border designated in the 1920s by Stalin to serve as a giant ghetto to which the Bolsheviks hoped Soviet Jews would migrate en masse. The set will also be useful to those who need an explanation of more garden-variety terminology, events, concepts, and persons significant to the field of international relations as they have unfolded in history. Its emphasis on the particular complements the lengthy analytical essays on topics and country-to-country relations in Scribner's Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy [RBB My 15 02] and the Encyclopedia of U.S. Foreign Relations (Oxford, 1997).

Library Journal Review

Nolan (International History Inst., Boston Univ.) is a historian, and it shows. Deliberately shunning the abstract theorizing, divorced from historical fact, that has long dominated international relations, his relentlessly historical work dwells primarily on the deeds of the great powers since the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, which made the nation-state the organizing unit of the international system. This historical bent is the set's great strength and its great weakness. Lively, objective writing characterizes the first-rate historical essays, but this excellence comes at the expense of traditional international-relations fare. Nolan musters only five pages on the UN, offering virtually nothing on the Security Council, that steward of international peace and security. Coverage of international economics is sparse, and security specialists will fault Nolan for overlooking Chinese strategist Sun Tzu, whose eminence among defense intellectuals is surpassed only by that of Carl von Clausewitz. Despite these flaws and the steep price, this work belongs in all academic and large public libraries. Nolan's effort to anchor international relations in history is admirable, and interest in the field has spiked since the September 11 terrorist attacks. However, because this set scants diplomacy, international law, and international economics the tools international relations scholars use to interpret history it might be wise to purchase The Oxford Companion to the Politics of the World as a supplement. James R. Holmes, Ph.D. candidate, Fletcher Sch. of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts Univ., Medford, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 10 Up-This work will assist students attempting to understand the complex relations among countries of the world past and present. Arranged alphabetically, the entries vary in length but all are concise, often with a first sentence that gives the long and short of the information at a quick glance. The cross-referenced articles include political and military leaders; existing and extinct nations from across the globe; and the accompanying economic, political, and religious diplomatic issues that ensue when peoples interact. In addition, there are numerous definitions. War is, of course, a "core subject" and contemporary issues and post-September 11, 2001 situations are included. Further-reading suggestions are frequent and scholarly. Twenty-nine maps are grouped at the front of the first volume and an extensive bibliography and detailed index are in the last volume. Students will find the more than 6000 entries relatively accessible. This set is appropriate for large high schools with an advanced academic focus.-Andrew Medlar, Chicago Public Library, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Humanistically written and ambitiously comprehensive, this single-author reference set intended for general readers is impressive in scope and design. Nolan (Boston Univ.), author of many previous works on international relations (e.g., The Longman Guide to World Affairs, 1995), combines scholarly rigor and a discerning eye in this useful and authoritative synthesis covering the major ideas, leading personalities, and significant developments in the history of the discipline. Thoughtfully conceived and handsomely executed, the 6,000 cross-referenced entries, ranging from terse definitions to multipage expositions, are paragons of clarity and concision. Nolan's internationalist perspective helps mitigate the ethnocentrism to which encyclopedias on international affairs are often prey. Subtly opinionated and morally judgmental on occasion, its objectivity is not belied. Highly recommended for academic libraries with strong international relations collections; undergraduates and specialists alike should welcome it. Oxford Companion to Politics of the World (CH, Oct'01) is a noteworthy complementary work on a smaller scale. D. Ettinger George Washington University

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