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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
As someone who is planning to read Politics and International Relations at university from September, I wanted a book that would give me a basic grounding and highlight the main issues surrounding the subject. This book does this excellently, providing an illuminating insight into the United Nations, the EU, terrorism, democracy, dictatorship and liberalism (amongst other...
Published on 22 Jan 2009 by K. Finley

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars very opinionated
While it gives a decent introduction to the subject of International Relations, I found that it is not very objective, in fact the author not even trying to be objective. The book is written with preconceived ideas of what is correct theory in international relations and what it should be. This subjective opinion is precicely the problem that causes the problems in...
Published 18 months ago by Yegor


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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 22 Jan 2009
By 
K. Finley (St Albans, Hertfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: International Relations: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
As someone who is planning to read Politics and International Relations at university from September, I wanted a book that would give me a basic grounding and highlight the main issues surrounding the subject. This book does this excellently, providing an illuminating insight into the United Nations, the EU, terrorism, democracy, dictatorship and liberalism (amongst other things) as well as an overview of the basic theories of International Relations. For those people who are looking to study the subject, as well as those who just have an interest in the wider world around them, this book is an accessible, intriguing and jargon-free read that I would thoroughly recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars very opinionated, 26 Jun 2013
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This review is from: International Relations: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
While it gives a decent introduction to the subject of International Relations, I found that it is not very objective, in fact the author not even trying to be objective. The book is written with preconceived ideas of what is correct theory in international relations and what it should be. This subjective opinion is precicely the problem that causes the problems in international arena. This author is intolerable of other cultures view on the world, while I agree with much of what he writes I was not allowed to discover my own opinion on International relations theory. In fact I felt that he was extremely bias to liberalism which made me drop the book very quickly!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Subjective, not objective as implied by its title, 8 Feb 2012
This review is from: International Relations: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
I was a bit disappointed to be honest. The first couple of pages seemed right, introducing theories... but then it basically went into a history lesson of the authors opinion. As the author is obviously an authority on the subject I would have assumed I wouldn't have minded, but then came the biased opinion. Facts were neglected to do with conflicts, and situations twisted to suit the authors views. Not that the author would ever read this but if he happens to, I would recommend he read some Christopher Hitchens in order that he takes in a decent level of argument opposing some of his views... before basically declaring those views as absolute, as seems to be what happens in this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but biased at points, 18 Oct 2014
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This review is from: International Relations: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
I am currently an A - Level student, I want to study Politics and International Relations and university, and this book was reviewed excellently - which it is. Wilkinson is especially good at covering the main issues such as security in sufficient detail as to not patronise the reader, or overload them with knowledge. The only negative point about the book was that Wilkinson evidently has very strong opinions, and this shows in the Iraq War part of the book where he is evidently against the Neo - Conservatism of Bush and Blair. This I believe, would be fine in a more detailed tome, yet not in a introductory book, as he could have disorientated the views of someone less informed than I. Yet as a whole an excellent small book - perfect for travel as it is also very small, also delivery (the free one) only took 3 days which was a plus.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars IR for those who like building blocks, 18 July 2012
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This review is from: International Relations: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Ploughing on with my reading of the VSIs, I was happy to come to Paul Wilkinson's International Relations: A Very Short Introduction, as a topic that would be interesting and hopefully be an improvement on the disappointing Geopolitics VSI. I was right on both counts, but this is by no means a perfect introduction. It has several flaws which I will detail herein, but on the whole it must be said that IR does what it sets out to do: provide someone with no prior knowledge with a very short introduction to the field, and leave you wanting more and searching for the next book or lecture to enhance your understanding of the subject, wide as it is.

My first main criticism, which follows from this, is that an aspiring IR expert would want to know where to look next. Sadly, this book does not deliver and so fails in this department. The Further Reading list at the end of the text is merely composed of works referenced in the text - more of a list of footnote references than anything else. A list of texts chosen specifically to aid a beginner in his or her next steps to augment their fledgling understanding of the subject matter is what should be provided. Doyle's French Revolution VSI is exemplary as the recommended texts are split into thematic lists and have Doyle's own comments written by the titles to further inform the reader about the best choices.

As for the meat of the book itself, it is structured around explaining the basic building blocks of IR, i.e. States, Non-States and Intergovernmental Organizations, but doesn't go much farther than this. It's mostly what I would expect from Chapter 1 of a 1970s textbook, and lacks imagination in design and delivery. This was OK for me as an experienced reader of less-than-interesting texts, but may bore the casual reader. There is some interesting analysis in Chapter 3 on Intergovernmental Organizations, but it is such a small amount that it just leaves the reader wanting more. The major analytical content comes in Chapter 4, `Problems and Challenges.' Here the big questions like global warming and nuclear weapons are discussed, each with an enlightening piece of analysis on `The search for solutions' after the facts. A whole VSI based on this kind of construction would be a lot more interesting to read. A paragraph in the introduction would likely be enough to clarify in the reader's mind what is meant by "State", "Non-State" and "Intergovernmental Organization".

A more thematic approach and structure, based on things like `The Problems of Getting States to Work Together' - a theme which recurs throughout Wilkinson's manuscript - would be yet more engaging and would also highlight many different historical examples without the dry recitation of a chronicler. Also good would be a deeper analysis of the contending IR theories, which are vital for understanding the context of the vast corpus of IR literature. There are a few pages in the introduction which pique the interest before plunging into States/Non-States et al.

Wilkinson's tone and analysis are realistically liberal, and he doesn't shy away from addressing the true tragedies that occur all the time in this world which many liberal commentators might prefer to ignore. This praiseworthy approach, combined with his readable style, makes International Relations a fairly easy and semi-enjoyable read. There must be lots to get excited about in IR, but that doesn't really come across here. On balance I would still recommend it to beginners interested in the field.
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4.0 out of 5 stars International Relations A Very Short Introduction, 5 Jun 2014
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The book I read to research this post was International Relations A Very Short Introduction by Paul Wilkinson which is a very good book which I bought from kindle. The birth of international relations can probably be traced back to the Napolianic Wars when a coalition of countries defeated Napolian and his French Army. Later there was the First & Second World Wars when it was realized there needed to be dialogue between countries to prevent wars on a huge scale. From this of course came the United Nations where there was a Security which consisted of 5 members initially Britain, United States, Russia, China & France. They are looking at expanding the number of members and Britain especially is in favor of abolition the member's veto which does cause problems. The Americans for example vetoed calling on Israeli Forces to vacate the Gaza Strip. What makes the United Nations even more vital is the proliferation of nuclear weapons with even some countries connected with terrorism and some rather undesirable regimes developing them. There are some concerns about a nuclear terrorist attack and countries attacking other countries with them. There are also organizations being formed like the EEC & ASEAN which look at countries in a certain region working together. The ASEAN is in South East Asia and purposely does not include Japan or China which it was felt would wield too much influence. The EEC of course is in Europe and most regions now have similar organizations. This is an interesting book and quite an enjoyable read. The A Very Short Introduction series which includes this book is a series where they get an expert to write approximately 150 pages on a given topic primarily as an introduction. I've read and read reviewed quite a lot of books from the series. There are apparently around 300 titles in the series.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 19 May 2009
This review is from: International Relations: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
What a fantastic book, really informative and interesting. Not too long but it's a fantastic introduction to International Relations, specially if you're taking it as a degree course. I'm not but it did better my understanding of World affairs and I enjoyed it at the same time.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is what it says., 6 April 2013
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This review is from: International Relations: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
The book does exactly what it says: it gives you a short and succinct introduction to international relations. It focuses on the different theories and gives a good overview.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars well?, 14 Mar 2013
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This review is from: International Relations: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
it is a small, good pocket book but perhaps overly priced. it is a small, good pocket book but perhaps overly priced.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IT WAS GOOOOOOOD, 6 Sep 2012
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This review is from: International Relations: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
It was pretty good, however, some of the language used was rather mind boggling but besides that, there are pictures, written in a LIBERAL POINT OF VIEW.
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