This book examines the various competing interpretations of Kant's foundational Perpetual Peace since its initial publication in the late eighteenth-century. According to Easley's analysis, there are two patterns of interpretations: 1) the text endorses peace proposals above the state level, 2) the text is in favour of peace proposals at the state level. The principal explanation for these two patterns resides in the rise and fall of hopes for peace through international organizations. It can also be attributed to the rise in the number of liberal states over time. Eric Easley provides a comprehensive historical background and analytical framework for understanding Perpetual Peace, allowing scholars of international relations to better understand and appreciate its complex meaning and see beyond the conventionally accepted interpretations of the day.
"The War Over Perpetual Peace is certain to be regarded as unique and provocative. I would expect this work to bring about renewed interest and argument concerning the relationship between Kant's great prophetic history, it's interpretations and the actual course of affairs. It would be very useful in a graduate level course on international relations, on war and peace or on Kant's political and historical writings. "
- Professor Sharon Anderson-Gold, Department of Science and Technology Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
'This book is a fascinating read for all those interested in international relations and Kant's political thought. Eric Easley outlines very perceptively the history of the reception of Kant's seminal work Perpetual Peace in the English speaking world from its first translation to its present position as a foundational text in international relations. Easley focuses particularly upon the reception of the work in the twentieth century in the light of the tumultuous ups and downs in world politics that have occurred. He employs effectively Karl Mannheim's theory of ideology to map these developments and illustrates strikingly how the influence of Kant's text ebbs and flows with the times. The book ends with a discussion of the immense influence Kant's arguments have had in the period following the collapse of Soviet Communism and suggests that Kant's stress upon the progressive role of republican governments still has a great deal to be said for it.'
- Howard Williams, Department of International Politics, University of Wales