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Library Journal Review
Analyzing the impact of Cold War foreign affairs on U.S. civil rights reform, Dudziak (law and civil rights history, Univ. of Southern California) contends that civil rights crises became foreign affairs crises and that continuing racial injustice in the United States was not in America's best interest because the Soviet Union used the race issue prominently in anti-American propaganda. Dudziak draws upon a variety of primary sources, particularly newly available archival resources, as well as secondary sources to demonstrate that the Cold War instituted a constraining environment for domestic politics and thereby facilitated some major social reforms, such as desegregation. The strength of the book is in its details and in the sensitive discussions of victims of American post-World War II racism. Carefully reasoned, containing vivid accounts, and thoroughly documented with illustrations and 55 pages of explanatory notes, this work helps us to rethink the familiar by analyzing the subject matter from a new perspective. It will have broad appeal to historians, other academicians, and lay readers interested in American foreign policy and race relations and is a useful supplement to Michael L. Krenn's The Impact of Race on U.S. Foreign Policy (Garland, 1999).DEdward G. McCormack, Univ. of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Lib., Long Beach (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
It is a genuine pleasure to read a truly scholarly study that evokes the reviewer's personal memories of events and sense of the weltanschauung of the era under consideration. Dudziak earns high praise for her superb work, which focuses on 1945 through 1968. Linkages between US domestic politics and US foreign policy, not widely acknowledged 35 years ago, are now well recognized, although still subject to considerable contention as to the strength of forces and relationships. However, this book should put to rest arguments about its theme, as it extends the perspective beyond official actions to embrace social change. This fine volume is a reminder, for example, that the Good War for democracy against the Axis awakened in at least some citizens the need for keen attention to racial justice at home. Even more forcefully, it explains coherently how international reactions, from allies and the Soviet Union alike, to American civil rights hypocrisy, both governmental and social, "gave new leverage to the [Civil Rights] movement while restricting the state's options." All collections. R. N. Seidel emeritus, SUNY Empire State College
Author notes provided by Syndetics
Mary L. Dudziak is Professor of Law at the University of Southern California, where she teaches civil rights history and constitutional law. She has published widely on twentieth-century legal history and civil rights history.