Understanding Attitudes About War (Paperback)

By Gregory G. Brunk, Donald Secrest, Howard Tamashiro

University of Pittsburgh Press, 9780822955856, 248pp.

Publication Date: June 15, 1996

List Price: 32.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Choice 1997 Outstanding Academic Book

Why have some traditional cold warriors opposed involvement in Iraq and the former Yugoslavia, while many vocal critics of the Vietnam war supported the use of U.S. forces in Somalia, Haiti, and the Balkans? What do these debates tell us about American attitudes toward the use of military force to achieve foreign policy goals? The authors examine the ethical and moral underpinnings of U.S. international relations by exploring the attitudes of decision makers and foreign policy elites toward war. Their unique contribution is to bring together the various doctrines in the literature and to characterize them using behavioral methodologies, in an attempt to bring normative questions back into the mainstream of political science.

About the Author

Gregory G. Brunk has graduate degrees in political science, economics, and history.

Donald Secrest was professor of political science at the University of Oklahoma. 

Howard Tamashiro is associate professor of political science at Allegheny College.

Praise For Understanding Attitudes About War

“Falls in the must-read category for all serious students of attitudes toward war and interstate relations. . . . [Their] careful analysis of the correlational patterns in the data yields provocative and testable hypotheses for future work.”
—American Political Science Review

“A welcome attempt to bridge the empirical-normative gap in the study of international politics. The authors briefly demolish the realpolitik myth that elites are narrowly self-interested utility maximizers, and then explore the ways in which moral commitments shape people's judgments about the use of force and nuclear deterrence.”
—Political Studies

“No reader of this volume can fail to emerge with less than a significantly deeper appreciation of the normative roots of cognitions about conflict. That is an important achievement.”
—Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science