Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sentiments in international relations - NBIH podcast review

New Books in History (NBIH) keeps me excited. Now I have listened to an interview with Robert Hendershot about his latest book Family Spats: Perception, Illusion and Sentimentality in the Anglo-American Special Relationship. Hendershot, in short, concludes that on a sentimental level the US and the UK feel connected and that this keeps the political relationship close, much rather than interests and concurrence in international policy.

Listening to the interview is simply fun. Marshall Poe is a very inspiring interviewer. He is genuinely excited about the book. He has insights in the subject, but makes sure that it is Hendershot who is talking. And talking he does. In a smooth and natural fashion we get from his background to the making of this book. It turns out he already had the feeling that the close relationship of the US with the Brits was more one of a cultural, perceived than of a political, established kind, but the point is: how do you prove such.

The US and the UK have had, at times, bad relationship from a political standpoint. Like for example in 1956 during the Suez Crisis. So how can you show that even then, the two countries feel connected and the storm will pass quickly? It just so happens that because of the Cold War the US government invested in research compiling statistical data about the people's perception of other nations, inside and outside the US. Hendershot had access to these archives and could stave his ideas with hard data.

More NBIH:
Samuel Kassow and the Warsaw Ghetto history,
Ronald Reagan,
Prokofiev,
Evolution, genetics and history,
Kees Boterbloem about Jan Struys.

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