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Rethinking American Grand Strategy

Elizabeth Borgwardt, Christopher McKnight Nichols, and Andrew Preston


What is grand strategy? What does it aim to achieve? And what differentiates it from normal strategic thought—what, in other words, makes it “grand”? In answering these questions, most scholars have focused on diplomacy and warfare, so much so that “grand strategy” has become almost an equivalent of “military history.” The traditional attention paid to military affairs is understandable, but in today's world it leaves out much else that could be considered political, and therefore strategic. It is in fact possible to consider, and even reach, a more capacious understanding of grand strategy, o ... More

Keywords: grand strategy, strategic thought, culture, international relations, foreign policy, diplomacy, military history, military affairs, John Quincy Adams, Henry Kissinger

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2021 Print ISBN-13: 9780190695668
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2021 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190695668.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Elizabeth Borgwardt, editor
Associate Professor of History and Law, Washington University in St. Louis

Christopher McKnight Nichols, editor
Director of the Center for the Humanities and Associate Professor of History, Oregon State University

Andrew Preston, editor
Professor of American History, University of Cambridge

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Christopher McKnight Nichols and Andrew Preston

Part I Frameworks

2 The Blob and the Mob

Beverly Gage

3 Turning the Tide

Elizabeth H. Bradley and Lauren A. Taylor

Part II Historical Grand Narratives

4 Extending the Sphere

Charles Edel

6 A Useful Category of Analysis?

Katherine C. Epstein

Part III Recasting Central Figures

8 Woodrow Wilson, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Beyond

Christopher McKnight Nichols

10 Foreign Policy Begins at Home

Michaela Hoenicke Moore

12 The Misanthropy Diaries

David Greenberg

14 George H. W. Bush

Jeffrey A. Engel

Part IV New Approaches

17 Rival Visions of Nationhood

Daniel J. Tichenor

Part V Reflections from the American Century

22 American Grand Strategy

Fredrik Logevall

End Matter