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After the Enlightenment
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  • Cited by 4
  • Cited by
    This book has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Bell, Duncan 2019. Historiographical Investigations in International Relations. p. 15.

    Guilhot, Nicolas 2019. Historiographical Investigations in International Relations. p. 1.

    Kelly, Duncan 2018. August Ludwig von Rochau and Realpolitik as historical political theory. Global Intellectual History, Vol. 3, Issue. 3, p. 301.

    Drolet, Jean-François and Williams, Michael C 2018. Radical conservatism and global order: international theory and the new right. International Theory, Vol. 10, Issue. 3, p. 285.

  • Nicolas Guilhot, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris

Book description

After the Enlightenment is the first attempt at understanding modern political realism as a historical phenomenon. Realism is not an eternal wisdom inherited from Thucydides, Machiavelli or Hobbes, but a twentieth-century phenomenon rooted in the interwar years, the collapse of the Weimar Republic, and the transfer of ideas between Continental Europe and the United States. The book provides the first intellectual history of the rise of realism in America, as it informed policy and academic circles after 1945. It breaks through the narrow confines of the discipline of international relations and resituates realism within the crisis of American liberalism. Realism provided a new framework for foreign policy thinking and transformed the nature of American democracy. This book sheds light on the emergence of 'rational choice' as a new paradigm for political decision-making and speaks to the current revival in realism in international affairs.


'[Guilhot] is masterful in his descriptions of ideas within realism, and how they are connected to the roots and development of the theory. His analysis of the evolution of the concept of ‘security dilemma’ is fascinating, and he digs up the classical Christian roots of early theorists. He argues that Herbert Butterfield provides sociological justifications of human predicament and that the eastern and western blocs avoided war because each was unsure of the others’ intention, as each was ‘beset by the devils of fear’. The book is a compelling read for anyone interested in the history of theory.'

Sumantra Maitra Source: International Affairs

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