Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Today's Foreign Policy Issues: Democrats and Republicans

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Today's Foreign Policy Issues: Democrats and Republicans

Article excerpt

Today's Foreign Policy Issues: Democrats and Republicans. By Trevor Rubenzer. Across the Aisle. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2017, 400 p. $97.00 (ISBN 978-1-44084366-2). E-book available (ISBN 978-1-4408-4367-9), call for pricing.

Today's Foreign Policy Issues: Democrats and Republicans, as the title suggests, examines international and "intermestic" policy issues from the perspectives of our two major political parties. According to the introduction, this book "examines the proposals and positions of the two parties--from profound disagreements to areas of common ground" (p. viii); however, this nuanced approach is difficult to achieve in a volume written for the novice researcher. Further, the structure of the articles stresses differences rather than similarities. Presenting political parties as monolithic structures is also problematic. While parties have unifying platforms that are referred to often throughout the book, they tend to obscure internal divisions. This partisan framework also seems to lend itself to deepening cleavages, both real and imagined, for readers approaching the material from entrenched perspectives. And what of independent, libertarian, and green-party positions, among others?

The work is written by Trevor Rubenzer, and the singular voice allows for consistency of treatment across topics. The disadvantage of the single-author model is that we don't hear the voices of experts on various topics covered. There is a unifying organizational template used for entries that enables readers to seamlessly compare and contrast topics. Every article begins with an overview paragraph followed by bulleted lists that summarize the positions of each party, a historical overview, and then sections that go into further detail about each party. …

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