Cover: On the Law of Nations in PAPERBACK

On the Law of Nations

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$31.00 • £26.95 • €28.95

ISBN 9780674635760

Publication Date: 02/01/1992


211 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


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In this erudite yet immensely readable brief history of American internationalism in the twentieth century, with its far-ranging and provocative discourses on the issues to which that internationalism has given rise, [Moynihan] deplores [the] trends against which Wilson warned… He takes the long view; he converses on easy terms, across the centuries, with the great thinkers of the past; and his discourse is informed by an exalted sense of what it is to be an American.—David Fromkin, The Washington Post Book World

An elegant and persuasive history-cum-argument about international law… [It] is not only a forceful elucidation of the subject; it is a cri de tête of a man who often sees things more accurately than others.—Roger Rosenblatt, The New York Times Book Review

On the Law of Nations is thoughtful and timely, even as Moynihan himself is the refutation of the claim that the United States produces no politicians capable of expressing original thought in their own unghosted words.—Jack Miles, The Los Angeles Times Book Review

Leave it to the senior senator from New York, whose career has been one long and exhilarating assault on conventional wisdom, to bring order to the chaos with an old but still provocative idea: let there be law… In this richly textured, idiosyncratically written (no ghostwriters here), but compelling book, Senator Moynihan argues that international law, often regarded as our century’s answer to alchemy, is in fact a powerful tool for stability and justice.Washington Monthly

An impassioned and well-reasoned plea for a return to the rule of international law… Sure to raise hackles—and hopes—in D.C. and beyond.Kirkus Reviews

Since we live in a period of presidents capable of invading small, weak nations without warrant in our own Constitution or international law, Senator Moynihan’s book could not be more necessary and timely. It is a cry of alarm—but a cry that is deeply reasoned, informed by our finest traditions and imbued with moral fervor. We might have to go back to John Quincy Adams to find another member of Congress capable of such a work.—Theodore Draper

‘Introducing international law into discussion,’ writes Pat Moynihan, ‘almost invariably sets off a reaction.’ This book is no exception. It is a learned, witty, and politically savvy defense of the subject, and an important contribution to thinking about the post–Cold War world.—Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

The book will have a notable and useful impact in the continuing debate over the role of morality, law, and organization in American foreign policy and what we stand for in the world. It is a pleasure to read for wit and passion; it gilds the philosophic pill and makes erudition seem fun… To those watching the general collapse of Communist ideology and feeling privileged to be present at yet another creation, it is a cautionary tale warning against the excessive optimism of naive moralisms and the naiveté of self-proclaimed ‘realists’ whose ignorance has cost us too much already.—Alfred Rubin, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

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