David M. Kennedy teaches history at Stanford University. His most recent book, Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for history. He is currently working on The Americans, a study of the distinctiveness of the nation's historical experience.
Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World
By Walter Russell Mead. Alfred A. Knopf, 374 pages, $30.00
This book begins with a bang and ends with a kvetch. "The United States has had a remarkably successful history in international relations," Walter Russell Mead proclaims in his opening pages. That such a common-sense statement might be regarded as provocative, Mead claims, testifies both to the myopia of much learned commentary on foreign policy and to most Americans' ignorance of their own diplomatic traditions. Those failings he energetically sets out to remedy.