This pioneering book provides a new interpretation of the Anglo-American special relationship's fundamental nature, its strengths and weaknesses, and the heart of its operational dynamic. Revealing the powerful influence of cultural affinity, Hendershot explains why no disagreement, however large, has been able to divide the American and British partnership entirely - an explanation rooted in the history of Anglo-American crises, myths and perceptions of fraternity. Focusing on the 1956 Suez crisis and the American war in Vietnam, the author draws upon vast archival records and public opinion survey data to demonstrate how cultural affinity has stabilized and sustained the alliance even in the face of bitter disagreements. As the sinew of this unique bilateral partnership, cultural affinity has allowed the special relationship, though altered and unequal, to survive into the 21st century.
This book is addressed to readers interested in the special relationship, the Suez crisis, the Vietnam War, Cold War alliances, and the influence of culture upon diplomacy.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Family Spats based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
This is an interesting look at the special relationship from a cultural perspective. We had to read it for a class in grad school dealing with the history of international relations. The full title is "Family Spats: Perception, Illusion, and Sentimentality in the Anglo-American Special Relationship". I enjoyed the author's focus on how perceptions of reality (rather than reality) have influenced American and British foreign policy. Hendershot's use of survey data collected by the Gallup Organization and United States Information Agency is unique and very persuasive. This book was refreshing since so many historians of foreign relations tend to be of the rational actor school, and see issues and events only through the lens of realpolitik considerations. While Hendershot does not deny that such considerations played a big role, he also shows us how cultural perceptions of Anglo-American fraternity, and elite awareness of this pattern, helped to preserve the special relationship through the difficulties of the Suez Crisis and the Vietnam War. While there are multiple sections examining how their cooperation in the field of nuclear weapons influenced the overall relationship, the book could have benefited from an expanded analysis of how the threat of the Soviet Union influenced Anglo-American perceptions of their alliance, but I suppose that could be a topic of another book altogether. Highly recommended reading.