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The Edinburgh Companion to Political Realism

Co-edited with Robert Schuett (Vienna)


Worldwide Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press

đź‘ŚRobert’s much-anticipated work on Hans Kelsen will publish next year (2021)

For more, visit:


From the Publisher:

The first reference work to explore the 2000-year history of political realism and reassess its place in today’s world

Political realism is a highly diverse body of international relations theory. This substantial reference work examines political realism in terms of its history, its scientific methodology and its normative role in international affairs.

Split into three sections, it covers the 2000-year canon of realism: the different schools of thought, the key thinkers and how it responds to foreign policy challenges faced by individual states and globally. It brings political realism up-to-date by showing where theory has failed to keep up with contemporary problems and suggests how it can be applied and adapted to fit our new, globalised world order.

Key Features

  • The first volume to offer a full, balanced guide to Political Realism: its history and its normative role in international affairs
  • Covers the main thinkers, from Thucydides through Niccolò Machiavelli to Isaiah Berlin
  • Engages with the major foreign policy issues of our times, such as strategic deterrence, nationalism, terrorism, cyber security, climate change, the open society and religion
  • Considers political realism in non-Western contexts, including Israel, Russia and China
  • Includes political realism’s ground-up growth and interpretation outwith Western contexts


  • Uriel Abulof, Tel-Aviv University, Israel.
  • Christopher Adair-Toteff, Zeppelin University, Germany.
  • Erica Benner, Yale University, USA.
  • John Bew, King’s College London, UK.
  • Todd Breyfogle, Aspen Institute, Washington, D.C., USA.
  • Joshua Cherniss, Georgetown University, USA.
  • Alan Chong, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore.
  • Lindsay P. Cohn, U.S. Naval War College, USA.
  • Kody W. Cooper, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, USA.
  • Marzieh Kouhi Esfahani, Durham University, UK.
  • Markus Fischer, California State University, Fullerton, USA.
  • Richard Forno, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA.
  • Stuart Gray, Politics at Washington and Lee University, USA.
  • Robert Howse, New York University School of Law, USA.
  • David Martin Jones, University of Queensland, Australia and King’s College London, UK.
  • Menno R. Kamminga, University of Groningen, Netherlands.
  • Peter Iver Kaufman, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and University of Richmond, USA.
  • David Kerr, Durham University, UK.
  • Paul Kirkland, Carthage College, Wisconsin, USA.
  • Douglas B. Klusmeyer, American University, Washington, DC, USA.
  • Konstantinos Kostagiannis, University of Maastricht, Netherlands.
  • Ayelet Haimson Lushkov, University of Texas at Austin, USA.
  • Cecelia Lynch, University of California, Irvine, USA.
  • David Mayers, Boston University, USA.
  • Kenneth B. McIntyre, Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, USA.
  • Neville Morley, University of Exeter, UK.
  • John Mueller, Mershon Center for International Security Studies and Ohio State University, USA.
  • Masashi Okuyama, International Geopolitical Institute Japan and Aoyama Gakuin University, Japan.
  • Samir Puri, King’s College London, UK.
  • Grace Roosevelt, Metropolitan College of New York, USA.
  • Felix Rösch, Coventry University, UK.
  • William E. Scheuerman, Indiana University, USA.
  • Tim Spiekerman, Kenyon College, Ohio, USA.
  • Peter Stirk, Durham University, UK.
  • Tom Switzer, Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney.
  • Zhao Tingyang, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, China.
  • Jodok Troy, University of Innsbruck, Austria.
  • Alex Wilner, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.
  • Derek M. C. Yuen, University of Hong Kong.
  • Rashed Uz Zaman, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.


Contributor Biographies

Part I: Political Realism and the Political

1. Political Realism and Human Nature
Erica Benner

2. Political Realism and the Western Mind
Zhao Tingyang

3. Political Realism and Strategic Theory
Samir Puri

4. Political Realism and Realpolitik
John Bew

5. Political Realism and Ideology
David Martin Jones

6. Political Realism and Civil-Military Relations
Lindsay P. Cohn

7. Political Realism and the English School
Jodok Troy

8. Political Realism and Global Reform
William Scheuerman

Part II: Political Realism and Political Thinking

9. Thucydides
Neville Morley

10. Kautilya
Stuart Gray

11. Livy
Ayelet Haimson-Lushkov

12. Augustine of Hippo
Miles Hollingworth

13. Niccolò Machiavelli
Markus Fischer

14. William Shakespeare
Tim Spiekerman

15. Thomas Hobbes
Kody W. Cooper

16. Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Grace G. Roosevelt

17. Friedrich Nietzsche
Paul E. Kirkland

18. Max Weber
Christopher Adair-Toteff

19. Walter Lippmann
Alan Chong

20. Reinhold Niebuhr
Menno R. Kamminga

21. E. H. Carr
Konstantinos Kostagiannis

22. Leo Strauss
Robert Howse

23. Herbert Butterfield
Kenneth B. McIntyre

24. Hans Kelsen
Robert Schuett

25. Raymond Aron
Christopher Adair-Toteff

26. George F. Kennan
David A. Mayers

27. Hans J. Morgenthau
Felix Roesch

28. Hannah Arendt
Douglas Klusmeyer

29. John H. Herz
Peter M. R. Stirk

30. Isaiah Berlin
Joshua Cherniss

Part III: Political Realism and Foreign Policy

31. Political Realism and Threat Perception
John Mueller

32. Political Realism and Russia
David Kerr

33. Political Realism and China
Derek Yuen

34. Political Realism and Iran
Marzieh Kouhi Esfahani

35. Political Realism and Israel
Uriel Abulof

36. Political Realism and India
Rashed Uz Zaman

37. Political Realism and Japan
Masa Okuyama

38. Political Realism and Regionalism
David Martin Jones

39. Political Realism and Nationalism
Peter Iver Kaufman

40. Political Realism and Religion
Cecelia Lynch

41. Political Realism and the Environment
Tom Switzer

42. Political Realism and the Internet
Richard Forno

43. Political Realism and Terrorism
Alex S. Wilner

44. Political Realism and the Open Society
Todd Breyfogle