Williams' controversial volumes, The Tragedy of American Diplomacy, Contours of American History, and other works have established him as the foremost interpreter of US foreign policy. Both Williams and others deeply influenced by him have recast not only diplomatic history but also the story of pioneer America's westward movement, and studies in the culture of imperialism.
At the end of the Cold War, when the US no longer faces any great enemy, the lessons of William Appleman Williams' life and scholarship have become more urgent than ever before. This study of his life and major works offers readers an opportunity to introduce, or re-introduce, themselves to a major figure of the last half-century.
Paul Buhle is currently a Visiting Scholar at the American Civilization Department of Brown University. He has written, edited or co-edited twenty books including studies of radicalism, labor, ethnicity, and Jewish history. He is co-editor of The American Radical (Routledge, 1994). Edward Rice-Maximin has taught at, among other places, the Rhode Island School of Design and Rutgers University, Camden. He has previously written on William Appleman Williams for Dissent, the Village Voice, and The American Radical (Routledge, 1994).
"William Appleman Williams was an American original, a radical public intellectual with a pathbreaking analysis of expansion as the dynamic of American history and a vision of how America might be different. The authors, admiring yet critical, have a masterful command of the historical and political context necessary to grasp the shaping of Williams thought and gauge his remarkable influence. This lucid intellectual biography makes Williams accessible to a new generation coming to grips with empire as an American way of life." -- Alfred F. Young, Senior Research Fellow, Newberry Library
". . . fair-minded and rigorously researched, as well as exceptionally interesting. This thoughtful biography of a major, if now neglected, American intellectual is recommended . . ." -- Publishers Weekly
"Paul M. Buhle and Edward Rice-Maximin . . . have brought back all the participants, the theories, the arguments, the alliances; the whole disrupting shebang of the late fifties and early sixties . . . This is a lively intellectual biography by radical participants of the struggles it brings back to life." -- The Nation
". . . a superb study of the genesis of an American radical and a proprietary patriot." -- Chronicles
"For those of us who knew Bill Williams as a teacher, colleague, friend or public figure, this book is guaranteed to fill in many gaps in our knowledge of one of the intellectual giants of the United States, post 1950. For those who have not yet been exposed to his scholarship...this book provides an excellent introduction to...all his major works." -- Monthly Review
"Buhle and Rice-Maximin have written a necessarily difficult book, for Williams' thought is subtle, complex, and profound, but it is a good job, well-balanced considering that it was written only a few years after Williams's death in 1990." -- People's Culture