Our new format designed to replace our book reviews places more of the choice on you, the Reader. My colleagues and I at American Diplomacy will identify a variety of new books that we believe may interest you. We'll provide basic information on the books and links to reviews. You will have the choice of whether, or how far, to pursue your interests in the books that follow. From time to time we will also feature an original book review or book essay of note. Good reading! And please let us know how you like the new format.
William P. Kiehl, Ed.D.
Contributing Editor, Books
The Rhetoric of Soft Power: Public Diplomacy in Global Contexts provides a comparative assessment of public diplomacy and strategic communication initiatives, in order to portray how Joseph Nye's notion of "soft power" has translated into context-specific strategies of international influence. The book examines four cases - Japan, Venezuela, China, and the United States - to illuminate the particular significance of culture, foreign publics, and communication technologies for the foreign policy ambitions of each country.
The book explores the notion of soft power as set of theoretical arguments about power, and as a reflection of how each country perceives what is an increasingly necessary perspective on international relations in an age of ubiquitous global communication flows and encroaching networks of non-state actors. Soft power is discussed a means by which public diplomacy is justified and in the process, reflects arguments for how each state sees what is possible through soft power. Through an interpretive analysis of policy discourse, public diplomacy initiatives and related programs of strategic influence - soft power in each case represents a localized formation of assumptions about the requirements of persuasion, the relevance of foreign audiences to state goals, and the perception of what counts as a soft power resource.
As the book demonstrates, each country articulates perspectives that challenge the universality of the soft power concept. Soft power has grown to be truly global concept that foregrounds the significance of international communication; soft power is a hybrid concept that retains the basic idea that international objectives can be achieved through non-coercive means, yet is inevitably refracted through the prism of local strategic concerns and history. The book contributes to the growing interdisciplinary community of scholars interested in soft power, public diplomacy, and international strategic communication. It provides an unprecedented comparative investigation of the relationship between soft power and public diplomacy.
Craig Hayden is a member of the faculty of the School of International Service, American University.
In the late sixteenth century, a prominent Albanian named Antonio Bruni composed a revealing document about his home country. Historian Sir Noel Malcolm takes this document as a point of departure to explore the lives of the entire Bruni family, whose members included an archbishop of the Balkans, the captain of the papal flagship at the Battle of Lepanto--at which the Ottomans were...