Nineteenth and twentieth century Chinese-American relations dominated my early interests and resulted in two prize-winning books, both making extensive use of Chinese-language materials. The first was my doctoral dissertation, published as Frontier Defense and the Open Door (Yale University Press, 1973). It was followed by The Making of a Special Relationship (Columbia University Press, 1983; Chinese translation 1993). These two books appeared along with a string of referred articles including the prize-winning “Americans in the China Market: Economic Opportunities and Economic Nationalism, 1890s-1931,” Business History Review 51 (Autumn 1977): 277-307; as well as “The American Remission of the Boxer Indemnity: A Reappraisal,” Journal of Asian Studies 31 (May 1972): 539-59, and “The Forgotten Occupation: Peking, 1900-1901,” Pacific Historical Review 48 (November 1979): 501-529.
In the 1980s and early 1990s I focused on modern Chinese foreign relations spurred by the availability of new opprotunities for research and scholarly exchange. “Chinese Foreign Relations in Historical Perspective,” in China’s Foreign Relations in the 1980s, ed. Harry Harding (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984), 1-42, was followed by “Beijing and the Korean Crisis, June 1950-June 1951,” Political Science Quarterly 107 (Fall 1992): 453-78; The Genesis of Chinese Communist Foreign Policy (Columbia University Press, 1996); and Toward a History of Chinese Communist Foreign Relations, 1920s-1960s: Personalities and Interpretive Approaches (co-edited with Niu Jun) (Woodrow Wilson Center, 1995).
My interest in U.S. involvement in eastern Asia continued to expand in the 1990s and beyond. I co-authored with Steven I. Levine “The Revolutionary Challenge to Early U.S. Cold War Policy in Asia,” in The Great Powers in East Asia, 1953-1960, ed. Warren I. Cohen and Akira Iriye (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990), 13-34, and then prepared Lyndon Johnson’s War: America’s Cold War Crusade in Vietnam, 1945-1968 (Hill and Wang, 1996). More recent work includes A Vietnam War Reader: A Documentary History from American and Vietnamese Perspectives (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010; also published by Penguin as A Vietnam War Reader: American and Vietnamese Perspectives), and the forthcoming book-length study, Arc of Empire: America’s Wars in Asia from the Philippines to Vietnam, co-authored with Steven I. Levine (UNC Press, spring 2012).
Big issues in the history of U.S. foreign relations have figured prominently in my work over the last two decades. Ideology and U.S. Foreign Policy (Yale University Press, 1987; Chinese translation 1999; Korean translation 2008) inaugurated this line of investigation. This widely read study has recently gone into a new edition (Yale University Press, 2009). Other broadly cast items have included “The Long Crisis in U.S. Diplomatic History,” Diplomatic History 16 (Winter 1992); Crises in U.S. Foreign Policy: An International History Reader (Yale University Press, 1996); and “In the Wake of September 11: The Clash of What?” Journal of American History 89 (September 2002): 416-25.
I turned to contemporary global history in the late 1990s for its intrinsic value and for its implications for the United States. This new interest led to The World Transformed: 1945 to the Present and its companion documentary reader (both Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2004), and The American Ascendancy: How the United States Gained and Wielded Global Dominance (UNC Press, 2007), which received the Choice Outstanding Academic Title award.