100 books like Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy

By Ole Rudolf Holsti,

Here are 100 books that Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy fans have personally recommended if you like Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of War, Presidents, and Public Opinion

Matthew A. Baum Author Of Soft News Goes to War: Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy in the New Media Age

From my list on public opinion and foreign policy.

Who am I?

I started my career in Washington D.C., where my first job involved conducting strategy meetings with senior civilian and military policy officials regarding potential military conflicts around the world. At the time I was struck by the extent to which senior policymakers worried about whether they would be able to garner and sustain public support for U.S. overseas military operations. This concern often dominated our meetings. It ultimately set me on my course as a scholar, where much of my work has focused on trying to understand what average people think about the world, why they believe what they do, and whether and how their attitudes affect leaders’ decision-making in crisis situations.

Matthew's book list on public opinion and foreign policy

Matthew A. Baum Why did Matthew love this book?

Under what conditions will Americans support a president when he sends the nation to war? By looking at how the American public responded to the Korean and Vietnam wars in unprecedented breadth and depth, this is the question Mueller seeks to answer in arguably the most important book of the past half-century (or more) on American public opinion regarding war. This was one of the books that first got me interested in understanding why Americans respond the way they do to military conflicts, how presidential leadership, good and bad, can influence public support when American troops are in harm’s way.

By John E. Mueller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked War, Presidents, and Public Opinion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Selected in 1995 as one of the "Fifty Books That Significantly Shaped Public Opinion Research, 1946-1995" by the American Association for Public Opinion Research. Recipient in 2007 of the first Warren J. Mitofsky Award for Excellence in Public Opinion Research, presented by the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research In War, Presidents and Public Opinion, some of the most deeply-held assumptions about what the American people think of their involvement in the Vietnamese war turn out to be unsupportable. For example, it is possible that the anti-war protest during Vietnam increased the popularity of the war (chapter 6), and the…


Book cover of Projections of Power: Framing News, Public Opinion, and U.S. Foreign Policy

Matthew A. Baum Author Of Soft News Goes to War: Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy in the New Media Age

From my list on public opinion and foreign policy.

Who am I?

I started my career in Washington D.C., where my first job involved conducting strategy meetings with senior civilian and military policy officials regarding potential military conflicts around the world. At the time I was struck by the extent to which senior policymakers worried about whether they would be able to garner and sustain public support for U.S. overseas military operations. This concern often dominated our meetings. It ultimately set me on my course as a scholar, where much of my work has focused on trying to understand what average people think about the world, why they believe what they do, and whether and how their attitudes affect leaders’ decision-making in crisis situations.

Matthew's book list on public opinion and foreign policy

Matthew A. Baum Why did Matthew love this book?

The mass media arguably play a critical intervening role between public opinion and foreign policy. Yet I’ve found that it is much harder to explain how the media, or public opinion, exert such influence than it is to determine what the public thinks or why. This book offers one of the most compelling explanations I’ve found for when and how the media can influence foreign policy, by serving as the intermediary between voters and their leaders. Importantly, Entman shows how media framing of events can influence public support for presidential foreign policy initiatives. It offers a comprehensive and persuasive delineation of the interplay between the media, the public, and political leaders, which I teach every year to my students. 

By Robert M. Entman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Projections of Power as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

To succeed in foreign policy, U.S. presidents have to sell their versions or framings of political events to the news media and to the public. But since the end of the Cold War, journalists have increasingly resisted presidential views, even offering their own spin on events. What, then, determines whether the media will accept or reject the White House perspective? And what consequences does this new media environment have for policymaking and public opinion?

To answer these questions, Robert M. Entman develops a powerful new model of how media framing works-a model that allows him to explain why the media…


Book cover of In Time of War: Understanding American Public Opinion from World War II to Iraq

Matthew A. Baum Author Of Soft News Goes to War: Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy in the New Media Age

From my list on public opinion and foreign policy.

Who am I?

I started my career in Washington D.C., where my first job involved conducting strategy meetings with senior civilian and military policy officials regarding potential military conflicts around the world. At the time I was struck by the extent to which senior policymakers worried about whether they would be able to garner and sustain public support for U.S. overseas military operations. This concern often dominated our meetings. It ultimately set me on my course as a scholar, where much of my work has focused on trying to understand what average people think about the world, why they believe what they do, and whether and how their attitudes affect leaders’ decision-making in crisis situations.

Matthew's book list on public opinion and foreign policy

Matthew A. Baum Why did Matthew love this book?

This is one of the most comprehensive books on the question of how Americans think about war. Berinsky reviews public opinion on every major war since World War II. He persuasively refutes most existing explanations for public opinion regarding these conflicts, while showing that Americans’ responses to foreign policy events are not really unique to foreign policy. Rather, Americans mostly respond to wars the way they respond to most other political issues. One of the most impressive aspects of the book is the vast trove of previously unknown public opinion data from World War II that Berinsky uncovers. This is a unique window into one of America’s defining military conflicts. We learn that, contrary to the received wisdom, Americans responded to World War II in much the same way as they did during more recent conflicts.

By Adam J. Berinsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In Time of War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From World War II to the war in Iraq, periods of international conflict seem like unique moments in U.S. political history - but when it comes to public opinion, they are not. To make this ground breaking revelation, In "Time of War" explodes conventional wisdom about American reactions to World War II, as well as the more recent conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Adam J. Berinsky argues that public response to these crises has been shaped less by their defining characteristics - such as what they cost in lives and resources - than by the…


Book cover of Faces of Internationalism: Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy

Matthew A. Baum Author Of Soft News Goes to War: Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy in the New Media Age

From my list on public opinion and foreign policy.

Who am I?

I started my career in Washington D.C., where my first job involved conducting strategy meetings with senior civilian and military policy officials regarding potential military conflicts around the world. At the time I was struck by the extent to which senior policymakers worried about whether they would be able to garner and sustain public support for U.S. overseas military operations. This concern often dominated our meetings. It ultimately set me on my course as a scholar, where much of my work has focused on trying to understand what average people think about the world, why they believe what they do, and whether and how their attitudes affect leaders’ decision-making in crisis situations.

Matthew's book list on public opinion and foreign policy

Matthew A. Baum Why did Matthew love this book?

This book is a classic in the genre. Wittkopf develops a hugely influential, yet surprisingly simple and straightforward, ideological map to explain how Americans view the world. He finds that typical Americans are generally consistent over time in their reactions to American uses of force abroad, depending on their foreign policy ideology. From responses to a series of poll questions, Wittkopf classifies people as internationalists, accommodationists, hard-liners, or isolationists. This is a framework that I regularly teach to my students, as I find it extremely valuable in explaining how Americans have responded to U.S. foreign policy actions, as well as the apparent differences between the attitudes of leaders and different segments of the general public.

By Eugene R. Wittkopf,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Faces of Internationalism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Faces of Internationalism, Eugene R. Wittkopf examines the changing nature of public attitudes toward American foreign policy in the post-Vietnam era and the role that public opinion plays in the American foreign policymaking process. Drawing on new data-four mass and four elite opinion surveys undertaken by the Chicago Council of Foreign Relations from 1974 to 1986-combined with sophisticated analysis techniques, Wittkopf offers a pathbreaking study that addresses the central question of the relationship of a democracy to its foreign policy.
The breakdown of the "consensus" approach to American foreign policy after the Cold War years has become the subject…


Book cover of Epic Encounters: Culture, Media, and U.S. Interests in the Middle East Since 1945

Lauren Turek Author Of To Bring the Good News to All Nations: Evangelical Influence on Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Relations

From my list on the history of religion in U.S. foreign relations.

Who am I?

I am an associate professor of history at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX, where I teach courses on modern United States history, U.S. foreign relations, and public history, direct our minor in museum studies, and direct the Mellon Initiative for Undergraduate Research in the Arts and Humanities. I am particularly interested in how domestic culture, ideology, and values have informed how the United States has engaged with the world around it. My recent work has explored the influence of conservative religious groups in foreign affairs, and I’m at work on a new book about national security and the congressional debates that unfolded over foreign aid after World War II.

Lauren's book list on the history of religion in U.S. foreign relations

Lauren Turek Why did Lauren love this book?

McAlister’s book is one I return to time and again because it so beautifully illustrates that U.S. foreign relations history is bigger and broader than just the story of policymaking. McAlister is an expert at dissecting and explaining American culture, particularly religious culture. In this stimulating read, she uses films, television shows, and other media as key texts that reveal how post-World War II Americans portrayed and understood the Middle East—and what those portrayals can tell us about the United States’ vision for itself as a global power during the Cold War. In so doing, she reminds us of how much events abroad can shape and reshape political culture at home. Her chapter on the 1967 Arab-Israeli War also highlights how conceptions of the Middle East played into domestic racial and religious tensions at home, particularly between American Jews and African Americans, while her chapter on the 1979 Iranian Hostage…

By Melani McAlister,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Epic Encounters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Epic Encounters" examines how popular culture has shaped the ways Americans define their 'interests' in the Middle East. In this innovative book - now brought up-to-date to include 9/11 and the Iraq war - Melani McAlister argues that U.S. foreign policy, while grounded in material and military realities, is also developed in a cultural context. American understandings of the region are framed by narratives that draw on religious belief, news media accounts, and popular culture. This remarkable and pathbreaking book skillfully weaves lively and accessible readings of film, media, and music with a rigorous analysis of U.S. foreign policy, race…


Book cover of A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War

Lynn Griffin Author Of Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox

From my list on historical romance to curl up on the sofa with.

Who am I?

They say your childhood shapes your life. By the time I reached thirteen, work began to teach me how to survive. After working a wide range of jobs, I ended up teaching students aged from fifteen to fifty. It was a joy. They opened my eyes. They were my inspiration. They kept me writing around the paid job. I was there to teach them, but I also learned from them. They gave me another special gift. To share their truly amazing stories with you.   

Lynn's book list on historical romance to curl up on the sofa with

Lynn Griffin Why did Lynn love this book?

This story captured my attention because of the period, and drama that explodes in and behind the scenes. It intertwines the lives and sagas of ordinary families and ordinary lives. I love to read and write about characters that have depth, believability, and the all-time favourite, coincidence. I found myself immersed immediately.  

The world is at war. I learned how middle-class Harry Chase and his working-class girlfriend Lois Bennett fought against the Blackshirts, that was until Harry headed to Warsaw as a translator. Lois is busy with her factory work, whilst managing her pacifist father. Harry promises to write but soon finds himself conflicted as he has a Polish sweetheart, Kasia. What becomes of Lois? I was delighted when this book was turned into a drama production by the BBC. Though great, I stand by the book. It is a great read. 

By Amanda Foreman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A World on Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

10 BEST BOOKS • THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW • 2011
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The Washington Post • The New Yorker • Chicago Tribune • The Economist • Nancy Pearl, NPR • Bloomberg.com • Library Journal • Publishers Weekly
 
In this brilliant narrative, Amanda Foreman tells the fascinating story of the American Civil War—and the major role played by Britain and its citizens in that epic struggle. Between 1861 and 1865, thousands of British citizens volunteered for service on both sides of the Civil War. From the first…


Book cover of Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship

Martha A. Ackelsberg Author Of Free Women of Spain: Anarchism and the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women

From my list on anarchism and revolution in the Spanish Civil War.

Who am I?

I have been studying and writing about, anarchism, gender, and the Spanish Civil War for almost 4 decades. I first explored what it would mean to organize a society without formal institutions of authority; and, as part of that research, I looked at how anarcho-syndicalist organizations related to governmental institutions and the struggle against fascism in Spain. I then engaged in a multi-year investigation of the social revolution that occurred in the midst of the ensuing Civil War and, in particular, the activities of the anarchist women’s organization, Mujeres Libres. Through the research for my book, Free Women of Spain: Anarchism and the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women, I was captivated by the extraordinary strength and enthusiasm of those women, and committed myself to telling their stories in ways that would be relevant to contemporary readers.

Martha's book list on anarchism and revolution in the Spanish Civil War

Martha A. Ackelsberg Why did Martha love this book?

This is a now-classic essay that explores the ways mainstream news media (and subsequent academic studies) downplayed and/or misrepresented the revolutionary nature of the Spanish Civil War. Although the war began as a result of a failed military coup d’etat against a legally-elected republican government, it came to be seen simply as a battle between communists (identified with the government) and supporters of order (who were actually the fascist rebels!). Drawing parallels with the ways U.S. media represented the revolutionary forces in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, Chomsky makes clear just how significant that misrepresentation became—not just at the time, but in the continuing historiography of the Spanish Civil War.

By Noam Chomsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship is Chomsky's powerful indictment of a liberal intelligentsia that provided self-serving arguments for war in Vietnam, legitimizing U.S. commitment to autocratic rule, to intervention in Asia and, ultimately, the "pacification" of millions. Over thirty years after their first printing, these are prophetic words, as today America effects "regime change" in Iraq and an increasingly boisterous militarism around the globe. Included here is Chomsky's classic counter-analysis of the Spanish Civil War as a revolutionary war from below, as he lays bare the hostility of even liberal scholarly elites to engage in mass movements and social change, revealing…


Book cover of Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World

Aparna Pande Author Of From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India's Foreign Policy

From my list on history and foreign policy.

Who am I?

Foreign policy has been my passion since I was a child. My father was a civil servant and growing up in India, I always wanted to follow in his footsteps but instead of working on domestic issues, I wanted to work on international affairs. History was another passion of mine and I wanted to combine the two of them in such a way that I studied the past in order to explain the present and help the future. This passion led me to enroll in a PhD program in the United States and then work at a think tank. I have written three books, two of which focus exclusively on foreign policy. I hope you enjoy reading the books I have listed and read my book.  

Aparna's book list on history and foreign policy

Aparna Pande Why did Aparna love this book?

The book provides one of the best analyses of the various strands that have framed U.S. foreign policy over the decades. It is easy to read, provides in-depth material, and can be read by both practitioners and lay readers. I love reading this book and it inspired me to undertake something similar for India’s foreign policy in my book.

By Walter Russell Mead,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Special Providence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"God has a special providence for fools, drunks and the United States of America."--Otto von Bismarck

America's response to the September 11 attacks spotlighted many of the country's longstanding goals on the world stage: to protect liberty at home, to secure America's economic interests, to spread democracy in totalitarian regimes and to vanquish the enemy utterly.

One of America's leading foreign policy thinkers, Walter Russell Mead, argues that these diverse, conflicting impulses have in fact been the key to the U.S.'s success in the world. In a sweeping new synthesis, Mead uncovers four distinct historical patterns in foreign policy, each…


Book cover of Choices: Inside the Making of India's Foreign Policy

Aparna Pande Author Of From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India's Foreign Policy

From my list on history and foreign policy.

Who am I?

Foreign policy has been my passion since I was a child. My father was a civil servant and growing up in India, I always wanted to follow in his footsteps but instead of working on domestic issues, I wanted to work on international affairs. History was another passion of mine and I wanted to combine the two of them in such a way that I studied the past in order to explain the present and help the future. This passion led me to enroll in a PhD program in the United States and then work at a think tank. I have written three books, two of which focus exclusively on foreign policy. I hope you enjoy reading the books I have listed and read my book.  

Aparna's book list on history and foreign policy

Aparna Pande Why did Aparna love this book?

This is a book by a former top diplomat of India that lays out in a clear and concise fashion India’s priorities, its interests, and its concerns. Real life examples are cited to explain the choices India made, or didn’t make, and the reasons behind those decisions. As someone who is passionate about foreign policy, and who loves archival research, I loved reading a book written by a practitioner in which he tells you about the challenges they face and the real-life choices they have to make.

By Shivshankar Menon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Choices as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A look behind the scenes of some of India's most critical foreign policy decisions by the country's former foreign secretary and national security adviser.

Every country must make choices about foreign policy and national security. Sometimes those choices turn out to have been the correct ones, other times not. In this insider's account, Shivshankar Menon describes some of the most crucial decisions India has faced during his long career in government - and how key personalities often had to make choices based on incomplete information under the pressure of fast-moving events.

Menon either participated directly, or was associated with, all…


Book cover of Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump

Jordan Neben Author Of A Lot of Questions, with No Answers

From my list on thinking about history and how we understand it.

Who am I?

Like many people, my passions were first ignited when I was a toddler, and I mainly have my maternal grandfather to thank what for interests me. I remember coming to my grandparent’s house when I was young and watching WWII documentaries that my grandfather had on VHS (yes, I’m that old). Since then, I’ve always had a passion for history. It doesn’t really matter the subject, I’m interested in everything; from the Ottoman Empire to the Vietnam War, to the Spanish Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula, to the US-backed coup in Guatemala during the Cold War. I hope that passion for history comes through when readers explore my book.  

Jordan's book list on thinking about history and how we understand it

Jordan Neben Why did Jordan love this book?

I’ll never forget how enthralled I was from the very beginning of Reign of Terror. Ackerman begins the book with a fascinating contrast in behavior that demonstrates that Americans have not abandoned nearly as much of their race prejudices as we like to pretend. In 1995, when Timothy McVeigh (with the help of many white supremacist groups) bombed the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, he was put through all of the standard legal procedures required under the law. When the United States was hunting extremists in the war on terror, we created places such as Guantanamo Bay and other CIA black sites to extrajudicially hold and torture people. The way Ackerman frames America’s behavior during the war on terror makes Reign of Terror a must-read in my opinion. 

By Spencer Ackerman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Reign of Terror as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Critics' Top Book of 2021

"An impressive combination of diligence and verve, deploying Ackerman's deep stores of knowledge as a national security journalist to full effect. The result is a narrative of the last 20 years that is upsetting, discerning and brilliantly argued." -The New York Times

"One of the most illuminating books to come out of the Trump era." -New York Magazine

An examination of the profound impact that the War on Terror had in pushing American politics and society in an authoritarian direction

For an entire generation, at home and abroad, the United States…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in international relations, September 11th, and presidential biography?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about international relations, September 11th, and presidential biography.

International Relations Explore 258 books about international relations
September 11th Explore 60 books about September 11th
Presidential Biography Explore 17 books about presidential biography