Higher Education

International Relations: Perspectives, Controversies and Readings, 5th Edition

  • Keith L. Shimko Purdue University
  • ISBN-10: 1285865162  |  ISBN-13: 9781285865164
  • 384 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2013, 2010, 2008
  • © 2016 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $117.75
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Engaging and highly accessible, this reader-friendly text features broad coverage of key principles of international relations, providing a thorough introduction to the discipline while avoiding excessive detail and complexity. International Relations: Perspectives, Controversies, and Readings, Fifth Edition, explores essential concepts such as power politics, war and democracy, human nature, free trade, inequality, globalization, humanitarian intervention, and terrorism. Each chapter features brief, topical coverage presented within a debate framework, challenging you to think critically, consider diverse perspectives, and apply what you have learned to real-world scenarios. The author also includes current, relevant primary source readings, giving you firsthand exposure to the materials and ideas shaping international relations today. Thoroughly revised, the Fifth Edition of this popular text features updated content in nearly every chapter, including the most recent statistics, research, trends, theories, and examples drawn from today’s headlines, including chemical weapons in Syria, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and the debate over climate change and global resources.

Features and Benefits

  • Designed to be reader-friendly and engaging, this popular text provides a thorough, yet highly accessible introduction to international relations, combining broad coverage of essential theory, current issues, and real-world examples in a compact volume that avoids excessive detail and complexity.
  • Following a pair of introductory chapters on international history and politics, the text features 11 chapters that explore fundamental issues or controversies in international relations, such as power politics, war and democracy, human nature, free trade, inequality, globalization, humanitarian intervention, and terrorism.
  • The author approaches major topics using provocative questions such as “How should we respond to terrorism?” and an engaging “debate” format to capture student interest and encourage them to think critically, appreciate diverse perspectives, and consider the real-world applications of chapter concepts.
  • Each of the core chapters concludes with a unique Point of View section featuring two primary source readings that offer varied perspectives on an issue, enabling students to engage directly with current ideas and arguments in order to refine their own views.
  • Key terms are defined in a running glossary in the page margins, allowing students to identify important concepts easily, learn useful terms without interrupting their reading, and focus their study and review effectively.

Table of Contents

1. Change and Continuity in International History.
2. Contending Perspectives on International Politics.
3. Power Politics.
4. War and Democracy.
5. War and “Human Nature”.
6. Free Trade.
7. The IMF, Global Inequality, and Development.
8. Globalization and Sovereignty.
9. International Law.
10. The United Nations and Humanitarian Intervention.
11. Nuclear Proliferation.
12. International Terrorism.
13. The Global Commons.

What's New

  • In addition to updated content in nearly every chapter, the Fifth Edition features numerous new photos and up-to-date statistics reflecting the most current research and reporting.
  • Thoroughly revised based on the trends, theories, and discussions shaping the study of international relations today, including debates about whether American covert actions against democracies undermine democratic peace theory, Stephen Pinker’s thesis about human nature and declining global violence, and corruption as an obstacle to development.
  • Features numerous examples and issues drawn from important recent and ongoing international issues, including Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons under customary international law, and Ukrainain denuclearization and its consequences given the country’s conflict with Russia.
  • New and expanded information is provided on crucial global issues such as climate change and global resources, including reference to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report and the theory of peak oil.
  • Includes six all-new or thoroughly updated Point of View readings, inviting students to consider opposing perspectives on key issues to help frame and challenge their own opinions.

Efficacy and Outcomes


"Shimko provides a topical approach to international relations and hits on such hot-button issues as power politics, human nature, free trade, globalization, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, and the global commons. It is concise, but deep enough to allow students to engage fully without being intimidated by heft or haughtiness."

— Joel McMahon, Baker College Online

"I prefer Shimko because (a) its length is shorter than most other texts, not drowning students in less important information; and (b) it is better-written than most other texts because the author addresses students in the second person, and (c) important questions are addressed in a way that is understandable to introductory-level students."

— Aron Tannenbaum, Clemson University

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Keith L. Shimko

Keith L. Shimko, Ph.D., is associate professor of political science at Purdue University. He has taught Introduction to International Relations since 1990 and has won several school and university-wide teaching awards. Dr. Shimko is the author of IMAGES AND ARMS CONTROL: PERCEPTIONS OF THE SOVIET UNION IN THE REAGAN ADMINISTRATION (Michigan, 1991), which was named a CHOICE outstanding academic book and received the Lynne-Reinner/Quincy Wright Award, as well as THE IRAQ WARS AND AMERICA'S MILITARY REVOUTION (Cambridge, 2010). He received his B.A. from Franklin and Marshall College and his Ph.D. from Indiana University.