• International Relations 101: The Definitive Audio Course on America's Foreign Policy

  • By: Robert K. Brigham
  • Narrated by: Robert K. Brigham
  • Length: 9 hrs and 34 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Follow acclaimed history professor and American foreign policy expert Robert K. Brigham, PhD, on a trek across the globe to explore the dramatic events that shaped America and the world. 

The great American experiment is one of the most remarkable achievements in the history of civilization. How did America transform from a scrappy collection of British colonies into a global superpower? Through vivid accounts and insightful analysis, Prof. Brigham shows you that America’s ascent into world leadership was neither preordained nor accidental. Rather, from its very beginnings, American foreign policy has been central to the country’s national identity. While the Founding Fathers used foreign relations to secure the young republic’s political experiment, subsequent leaders have consistently wielded American power to ensure the country’s prosperity and security. 

As Prof. Brigham ably demonstrates in 24 riveting lectures, America’s role on the world stage has rarely been uncomplicated. Americans have always debated their place in foreign affairs - their wars, their commitments, their interests - and challenged others’ perception of the nation’s power. In fact, few issues have divided policy makers and the American public more than US foreign policy.

This course is part of the Learn25 collection.

©2019 Now You Know Media (P)2019 Now You Know Media

Critic Reviews

“Bob Brigham ranks as one of the most accomplished and respected scholar/teachers in the field of U.S. foreign policy history. He has written a plethora of prize-winning books and influential articles and has appeared on a number of radio, TV, and online programs. At Vassar he is a legendary teacher. He is fluent in and reads the Vietnamese language.” (Frank Costigliola, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor, University of Connecticut)

“Bob Brigham has the rare ability to make history literally come alive. An award winning teacher and a distinguished scholar, Brigham explores the myriad ways in which American power has been exercised in the world over the last two centuries and how that history is essential for understanding the place of the United States in the world today.” (Mark Philip Bradley, Bernadotte E. Schmitt Distinguished Service Professor of History, The University of Chicago)

“Bob Brigham is one of our nation’s finest scholars on US foreign policy.” (Gregory A. Daddis, professor at Chapman University)

What listeners say about International Relations 101: The Definitive Audio Course on America's Foreign Policy

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Only listen if you want to learn a lot

Robert Brigham is a the kind of professor I WISH I had in college. I would have had much better grades if I had someone as knowledgeable and engaging as Robert. Definitely worth a listen if you have any interest in the history of the US.

1 person found this helpful

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A fascinating take on America’s role in the world

Professor Robert K. Brigham examines US history from the country’s foundation to the present day. The complex relationship between world trade, military power, and constitutional law is analysed to give a cohesive picture on how the United States of America became “The Surprising Superpower.”

Brigham’s focus on foreign policy makes this an even rarer view on American history from 1788 onwards. Trade and international relations are analysed on par with the great victories on the battlefield and the romanticized dreams of a new world. A great listen!

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The Entire American Diplomacy History

When I read the newspaper, I see news like America punishes Iran, America supports the Egyptian regime, America and China agree on certain terms and so on. I always wanted to know how American became so powerful influencing nearly the entire planet.
I know that throughout history, some countries controlled major parts of the planet such as the United Kingdom in the 19th and 18th centuries. I also know that America took the UK’s place in the 20th century and it seems that it will remain for a long time on the top of the world. Diplomacy must have something to do with taking the UK’s place and the rest of the story.
I also realize that to be for a long time on the top of the world requires strong institutions. American has a strong constitution and foreign policy that allowed it to lead the world. However, how America reached this point?
History shows us the truth as it repeats itself all the time. After listening to Professor Robert K. Brigham’s audiobook; I can say that America has learned the lesson and realized how to remain the most powerful empire on Earth for a longer time. Prof. Robert made history and events alive again. His Analyses of the events from a diplomatic point of view were precise and neutral.

The entire American experience did not exist out of nowhere; it is a long journey.
What makes me give this course a 5-star rating is the thoughts I extracted from it. I can now read the news and relate why America has such a major influence on the world. Prof. Robert started the journey from the very beginning. He covered the American constitution, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Cold War, Cuba, Vietnam, Iraq, Pakistan, some of the US presidents, and many other topics. After finishing it, you will realize how powerful America is, especially its foreign policy and diplomacy.
Thank you Professor Robert!

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Useful & informative round-up of US foreign policy

I never felt I understood US foreign policy or even trade or the constitution that well, and newspapers always report on these things as if you're already in the loop. I wasn't! That's why I was drawn to this title. The author is a professor of history and international relations at Vassar, and in this lecture series he provides a really solid grounding in US history. How does our country relate to the rest of the world? How did we get where we are today? This audiobook was able to answer some of these questions for me. Of course, this IS a professor of history speaking/reading, so it's kind of hard to give a star rating for performance, but he does the job! Great content.

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Absorbing and Important

As Americans, we are so steeped in the narrative of US dominance that it's easy to forget how precarious the whole American experiment really was. The thesis of this series, that foreign involvement is a key feature of US national identity, is a fascinating one to follow. Brigham is an excellent writer and a dynamic presenter, a pleasure to listen to.

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Brigham is Uniquely Qualified to Tell this Story

Bob Brigham just won Vassar College's "Outstanding Faculty Award" for 2019. Listening to this program will show you why. Bob has a huge amount of knowledge about the treaties and statesmen and battles which have shaped American foreign policy, and he also has a wonderfully theatric presentation style. When Bob tells a story, you feel like you are sitting in the situation room with the president as he weighs what to do. Highly recommend this one!

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Distinctive, thoughtful and engaging

Unlike most U.S. foreign policy works, this lecture course covers the full span of U.S. engagement with the word, from the country's early history through current events. I found this broad context especially helpful. Brigham argues persuasively that America has always been internationally engaged. Through a combination of foresight, luck, and stumbles, this engagement evolved and expanded. This course contains many aha moments and one realizes why leaders behaved as they did, and how big the U.S. came to take on superpower status. I highly recommend this series to those interested in a balanced and careful examination of U.S. history on the world stage. Brigham is a fine lecturer and I found the pacing right and enjoyed his presentation.