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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $62.00
  • September 2010
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-93529-5
  • 370 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

Essentials of International Relations

The Norton Series in World Politics

Fifth Edition


Karen A. Mingst (Author, University of Kentucky), Ivan M. Arreguín-Toft (Author, Boston University)


Crystal-clear coverage of the concepts and theories that students need to know—in a concise, affordable format.

The Fifth Edition offers more ways than ever to help students learn and apply the core ideas in the field. New co-author Ivan Arreguín-Toft brings expertise in security studies to key topics like war and terrorism, helping students see how scholars use concepts and theory to understand them. Newly expanded Global Perspectives boxes use the concepts in each chapter to help students think beyond an American-centric point of view on contemporary issues.


A simple framework covers the basic concepts and theories

Essentials of International Relations uses a framework that focuses on the core concepts and theories. The contending perspectives of realism, liberalism, radicalism, and constructivism are used consistently throughout the text. And three levels of analysis—the international-system level, the state level, and the individual level—help structure the student’s understanding of world politics. With Essentials of International Relations, instructors can emphasize the events and issues they want, knowing that the students are learning the basics. 

Pedagogy to support the framework in every chapter

In-text features reinforce the concepts students need to learn and encourage critical thinking.

• “Theory in Brief” boxes in every chapter break theory down to help students grasp it. For example, see the last page of Chapter 5 or the first several pages of Chapter 9.

• “In Focus” boxes reinforce important concepts that students will want to review.

• “Essential Debate” boxes apply the concepts and theory to controversial contemporary issues. These boxes help students see the real-world applications of what they are learning in the course and help instructors get in-class discussion going.

Additional tables, maps, timelines, and conceptual diagrams are thoughtfully integrated throughout.

Expanded “Global Perspectives” boxes

In the Fifth Edition, the “Global Perspectives” boxes have been expanded to two pages each. This popular feature encourages students to consider key issues from the perspective of a specific state (other than their own). The authors have given particular attention to non-Western cases and history throughout the text. 

Resources to help teachers teach and students learn

For instructors, a supplementary image bank helps invigorate lectures, and a new Instructor's Guide contains teaching ideas and a chapter-by-chapter guide for using the wealth of support materials available.

For students, end-of-chapter review sections contain discussion questions and key terms (with page references). Students are also invited to answer those questions and practice and connect what they've learned to current events on StudySpace, the free and open student website.

The best value

Essentials of International Relations has a low price and a full suite of book-specific ancillaries for students and instructors, including the free and open StudySpace student website. The accompanying reader, Essential Readings in World Politics, can be packaged with the text at a significant discount. 

    Chapter 1: Approaches to International Relations

    Chapter 2: The Historical Context of Contemporary International Relations

    Chapter 3: Contending Perspectives: How to Think about International Relations

    Chapter 4: The International System

    Chapter 5: The State

    Chapter 6: The Individual

    Chapter 7: International Organizations, Nongovernmental Organizations, and International Law

    Chapter 8: War and Strife

    Chapter 9: International Political Economy

    Chapter 10: Transnational Issues