Catalogue


Gordian knot [electronic resource] : apartheid and the unmaking of the liberal world order /
Ryan M. Irwin.
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, c2012.
description
xi, 244 p. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
9780199855612 (hardcover : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, c2012.
isbn
9780199855612 (hardcover : alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
contents note
Introduction: Opening the curtain -- Part one. Winds of change -- Architects and earthquakes -- Defining the debate -- Africa for the Africans -- Part two. Halls of justice -- The status quo -- Looking outward -- Conclusion: toward a new order.
catalogue key
8566984
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 223-239) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2013-05-01:
This volume thoughtfully examines the struggles to defeat as well as defend apartheid within and beyond Africa throughout a decade of decolonization. The collapse of Pretoria's harsh regime by the end of the 20th century was by no means inevitable, as Irwin (history, Univ. at Albany, SUNY) makes clear. The story coincides with a loss in US soft power throughout much of the world. As Africa was decolonized and frenetic diplomacy was waged within the context of the Cold War, complex relationships changed and power struggles were waged. One struggle between the Pan African Congress and the finally victorious African National Congress (ANC) is best explained here. One generally unappreciated subplot examines politics behind the World Court's significant 1966 decision not to support the antiapartheid effort. The importance of economic interests and the impact of the civil rights movement in the US are also considered. The book includes insights about many personalities who influenced important decisions during the period, such as Hendrik Verwoerd, "Soapy" Williams, John Vorster, and Oliver Tambo, the ANC's adroit leader prior to Nelson Mandela's release. A concluding chapter updates developments since the 1970s and provides analytic perspective. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers; upper-division undergraduate students and above. P. G. Conway emeritus, SUNY College at Oneonta
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Gordian Knotis an outstanding contribution to international history. It helps us understand why the United States was seen as the defender ofapartheidSouth Africa and shows the disastrous consequences of that position for U.S. African policy." --Odd Arne Westad, author ofRestless Empire: Chinaand the World since 1750 "From 1960, as more and more African countries gained their independence, the racial policies of South Africa became a matter of global concern. Ryan Irwin has spotted a gap in the literature and filled it admirably, showing the complexities and ambiguities in the ways in which the international community responded to the apartheid regime." --Christopher Saunders, University of Cape Town "In this ambitious book, Ryan Irwin recounts the intersecting histories of decolonization and the international struggle against apartheid in South Africa, from its mid-century beginnings to its triumph in the last decade of the 20th century. The very length of the struggle is an indication of its complexity and the genius ofGordian Knotis that it is able to capture it all." --Marilyn Young, New York University "Situating the debate over apartheid in its global context, Ryan Irwin offers us a new perspective on postwar international history, and particularly on the intersections of the cold war and decolonization. Through this prism, this book shows how the rise of new nations in Africa influenced the dynamics of the cold war, the nature of the United Nations, and the direction of U.S. policy, and how it reshaped international society in ways that continue to matter today." --Erez Manela, author ofThe Wilsonian Moment "Irwin's informative and eloquent study is unique in its focus on U.S. foreign policy toward Africa during an era defined by nonalignment, decolonization, the cold war, and the U.S. civil rights movement. Just as Jim Crow segregation was the 'Achilles heel' of the United States at the height of the cold war, the immoral apartheid regime in South Africa violated the vision of a U.S.-led liberal international order committed to decolonization and development. Despite the efforts of the United Nations Afro-Asian bloc to end the regime, the imperatives of American hegemony permitted an accommodation with apartheid by U.S. officialdom. With the limits of decolonization apparent, apartheid was undone, finally, by the international human rights and solidarity campaigns orchestrated by the African National Congress." --Kevin K. Gaines, University of Michigan
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, May 2013
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
'Gordian Knot' explores how African decolonization remade the international order of the mid-20th century. In looking closely at the apartheid debate, the book shows the way South Africa's policies shaped the global conversation about rights and race and eroded Washington's influence at the United Nations.
Long Description
Writing more than one hundred years ago, African American scholar W.E.B. Du Bois speculated that the great dilemma of the twentieth century would be the problem of "the color line." Nowhere was the dilemma of racial discrimination more entrenched'"and more complex'"than South Africa. This book looks at South Africa's freedom struggle in the years surrounding African decolonization, and it uses the global apartheid debate to explore the way new nation-states changed the international community during the mid-twentieth century. At the highpoint of decolonization, South Africa's problems shaped a transnational conversation about nationhood. Arguments about racial justice, which crested as Europe relinquished imperial control of Africa and the Caribbean, elided a deeper contest over the meaning of sovereignty, territoriality, and development. This contest was influenced'"and had an impact on'"the United States. Initially hopeful that liberal international institutions would amicably resolve the color line problem, Washington lost confidence as postcolonial diplomats took control of the U.N. agenda. The result was not only America's abandonment of the universalisms that propelled decolonization, but also the unraveling of the liberal order that remade politics during the twentieth century. Based on research in African, American, and European archives, Gordian Knot advances a bold new interpretation about African decolonization's relationship to American power. The book promises to shed light on U.S. foreign relations with the Third World and recast our understanding of liberal internationalism's fate after World War II.
Main Description
Writing more than one hundred years ago, African American scholar W.E.B. Du Bois speculated that the great dilemma of the twentieth century would be the problem of "the color line." Nowhere was the dilemma of racial discrimination more entrenched-and more complex-than South Africa. Gordian Knotexamines South Africa's freedom struggle in the years surrounding African decolonization, using the global apartheid debate to explore the way new nation-states changed the international community during the mid-twentieth century. At the highpoint of decolonization, South Africa's problems shaped a transnational conversation about nationhood. Arguments about racial justice, which crested as Europe relinquished imperial control of Africa and the Caribbean, elided a deeper contest over the meaning of sovereignty, territoriality, and development. Based on research in African, American, and European archives,Gordian Knotadvances a bold new interpretation about African decolonization's relationship to American power. In so doing, it promises to shed light on U.S. foreign relations with the Third World and recast understandings of the fate of liberal internationalism after World War II.
Main Description
Writing more than one hundred years ago, African American scholar W.E.B. Du Bois speculated that the great dilemma of the twentieth century would be the problem of "the color line." Nowhere was the dilemma of racial discrimination more entrenched - and more complex - than South Africa. This book looks at South Africa's freedom struggle in the years surrounding African decolonization, and it uses the global apartheid debate to explore the way new nation-states changed the international community during the mid-twentieth century. At the highpoint of decolonization, South Africa's problems shaped a transnational conversation about nationhood. Arguments about racial justice, which crested as Europe relinquished imperial control of Africa and the Caribbean, elided a deeper contest over the meaning of sovereignty,territoriality, and development. This contest was influenced - and had an impact on - the United States. Initially hopeful that liberal international institutions would amicably resolve the color line problem, Washington lost confidence as postcolonial diplomats took control of the U.N. agenda. The result was not only America'sabandonment of the universalisms that propelled decolonization, but also the unraveling of the liberal order that remade politics during the twentieth century. Based on research in African, American, and European archives, Gordian Knot advances a bold new interpretation about African decolonization's relationship to American power. The book promises to shed light on U.S. foreign relations with the Third World and recast our understanding of liberalinternationalism's fate after World War II.
Main Description
Writing more than one hundred years ago, African American scholar W.E.B. Du Bois speculated that the great dilemma of the twentieth century would be the problem of "the color line." Nowhere was the dilemma of racial discrimination more entrenched--and more complex--than South Africa. This book looks at South Africa's freedom struggle in the years surrounding African decolonization, and it uses the global apartheid debate to explore the way new nation-states changed the international community during the mid-twentieth century. At the highpoint of decolonization, South Africa's problems shaped a transnational conversation about nationhood. Arguments about racial justice, which crested as Europe relinquished imperial control of Africa and the Caribbean, elided a deeper contest over the meaning of sovereignty, territoriality, and development. This contest was influenced--and had an impact on--the United States. Initially hopeful that liberal international institutions would amicably resolve the color line problem, Washington lost confidence as postcolonial diplomats took control of the U.N. agenda. The result was not only America's abandonment of the universalisms that propelled decolonization, but also the unraveling of the liberal order that remade politics during the twentieth century. Based on research in African, American, and European archives,Gordian Knotadvances a bold new interpretation about African decolonization's relationship to American power. The book promises to shed light on U.S. foreign relations with the Third World and recast our understanding of liberal internationalism's fate after World War II.
Table of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction: Opening the Curtainp. 3
Winds of Change
Architects and Earthquakesp. 17
Defining the Debatep. 41
Africa for the Africansp. 72
White Redoubt
Halls of Justicep. 103
The Status Quop. 126
Looking Outwardp. 152
Conclusion: Toward a New Orderp. 182
Notesp. 189
Bibliographyp. 223
Indexp. 241
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem