Imbalance of Powers: Constitutional Interpretation and the Making of American Foreign Policy

By Gordon Silverstein | Go to book overview

Acknowledgments

The path to this book has been a story of continuing education, and it is a testimonial to all those from whom I have learned--family, teachers, students, friends and colleagues.

My interest in American political culture and constitutional interpretation goes back to a young age when I lived with my family in Southeast Asia: Living in Malaysia and Singapore during the Vietnam war gave me a different perspective on America and American politics. The more I learned about other countries and about the way the United States was perceived abroad, the more I wanted to know about American political culture. As an undergraduate at Cornell University, I tackled some of my questions in the classroom and the libraries, and some of them beyond the campus, as editor in chief of the Cornell Daily Sun. After graduation I spent three years as a journalist the Wall Street Journal in New York and Hong Kong, and with the San Francisco Chronicle. On my lunch hour one day in New York I was browsing in a bookstore and stumbled on Samuel P. Huntington American Politics: The Promise of Disharmony, which rekindled the deeper questions that had been gnawing at me since those years in Southeast Asia. I felt Huntington had exposed the soul of American political culture, though I found myself disagreeing strongly with his prescriptions. I decided to go back to school to study American politics, and particularly the role of law in the shaping of American political culture.

As a graduate student at Harvard University, I learned a great deal from a number of extraordinarily dedicated scholar/teachers who belied the myth of a faculty unconcerned about its teaching. It gives me the greatest pleasure to acknowledge the intellectual stimulation that Judith Shk

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