Beginning in 1938, as Roosevelt was confronted with growing strife and uncertainty in Europe, and spanning the entirety of US foreign policy up to the end of Clinton's first term, Ambrose and Brinkley have created a superb description of how the United States got to where it is. Of specific quality and interest:
- Insight into Roosevelt's battle to get America involved in the United Nations
- Truman's implementation of the containment policy and NSC-68
- Treatment of the Vietnam War and the policies that went into starting it as well as dragging it on far longer than it ever should have lasted
- Nixon's foreign policy successes and domestic failure (Watergate)
- Reagan's administration, full of bluster to begin with, calm and considered towards the end
- The End of the Cold War, the collapse of the Soviet Union and its impact on the USA
- The first Bush presidency: the interventionism (Gulf War) and caution (Yugoslavia), the uncertainty of America's new foreign policy direction
Written in an accessible, fluid style, and devoid of overly-academic terms or passages, Rise to Globalism contains plenty of analysis as well as in-depth description of events and issues, and the characters involved in them. Whenever I need clarification of an issue or more details of an event for my PhD thesis, I turn to Ambrose and Brinkley.
If I had to recommend one book about this period in America's history, it would be this one.