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American Exceptionalism and Human Rights Paperback – 10 Jul 2005


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One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2006

"An excellent new collection of essays on American exceptionalism. . . . Michael Ignatieff . . . seeks to distinguish between US 'exemptionalism,' double standards and legal isolationism."--Quentin Peel, Financial Times

"This collection on American exceptionalism seeks to explain the seeming paradox of US governmental support for, and aversion to, global human rights. . . . This study is an important contribution to the scholarship of international humanitarian law and US foreign policy."--Choice

"[An] important collection of essays by leading scholars. . . . Together the authors wonderfully capture the complex interplay between values, law, and American power."--G. John Ikenberry, Foreign Affairs Magazine

"Beyond providing a highly valuable and innovative study of American exceptionalism, this book makes an original contribution to scholarship and may start a long overdue conversation with conservatives about the origins of their grievances with international human rights standards."--Michael J. Boyle, International Affairs

From the Back Cover

"This is an extremely interesting and well-written collection of essays on a very timely topic. Moreover, the contributors are some of the leading figures in the fields of international relations and international law. The book will certainly be read by scholars and practitioners and used as a supplemental text in courses, and it will appeal more broadly to people in America and abroad who are curious about the U.S. resistance to international treaties, international institutions, and foreign law."--Sean D. Murphy, George Washington University, author of United States Practice in International Law, Volume 1: 1999-2001 and Humanitarian Intervention: The United Nations in an Evolving World Order

"This book was a genuine pleasure to read. Its individual chapters, which are consistently scholarly yet accessible, range in quality from very good to superb, with a high proportion on the top end of the range. And the volume as a whole is much more than the sum of these excellent parts. It can be read with profit not just by scholars and students but also by interested general readers."--Jack Donnelly, University of Denver, author of Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice


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Since 1945 America has displayed exceptional leadership in promoting international human rights. Read the first page
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Amazon.com: 2 reviews
For students of the highest calibre preparing for international law 13 Jan. 2014
By W. Jamison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is an interesting collection of essays written by specialists in the philosophy of right that was considered timely when published - but considering how little things have changed in most respects, still is. An essential problem addressed in a variety of ways is how right can be determined. Since current discourse considers consensus to be the determinant of meaning, international discourse opens the problem of which consensus should rule. Since each nation, to a greater or lesser extent depending on its legitimacy, engages the international discourse from a culturally, and historically evolving basis, meanings change and are controversial, even in a united cultural setting. The ancient problem of might makes right (in the sense that the dominant power imposes its vision of right on others) is certainly still relevant. Essays in the book discuss the history of international conflict over the nature of rights, the paradox of rights in some absolute sense never being satisfactory even from the cultural point of view that is in power, and how that discourse of rights evolves through institutions designed to work the issues. These are all complex issues but fiercely contested today and so requiring intellectual students to understand the philosophical dilemmas with a mastery of the most contemporary skills that can be brought to bear. This book is for those students that will be preparing to enter diplomatic discourse and international law. Many of these issues are also highly relevant in the context of the European Union as it evolves from a monetary unity toward a United States like Federation of States.
I highly recommend readers be familiar with current texts such as those by The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution, In the World Interior of Capital: Towards a Philosophical Theory of Globalization, German Europe, and of course The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity: Twelve Lectures (Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought) to help follow these essays with better understanding.
3 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Anti-American "scholarship" at its worst 29 May 2010
By Jeffrey R. Campbell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ignatieff's introductory essay is solid, but the rest of the contributions are only of interest if you already bemoan the ugly fact of American democracy obstructing the beautiful theories of international do-gooders. Look elsewhere for a serious treatment of this important subject.
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