What God Hath Joined Together

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Published In

Contemporary Psychology


Reviews the book, Crises in Foreign Policy by Charles F. Hermann (1969). This volume strikes an optimistic chord. The author is of a new breed. His theoretical premises draw from all branches of the social sciences. The basic hypothesis of the book is: under crisis, decision makers are more likely to take action than under noncrisis. Stemming from Hermann's particular definition of crisis, however, more interesting and sophisticated arguments are made. After reviewing a wide-ranging literature on the nature of crisis, particularly in the political sphere, Hermann argues convincingly for a three-factor approach. That is, a crisis situation is one in which (a) the high priority goals of a group are threatened, (b) the amount of time for decision-making is short, and (c) the threat is not predicted. In this context, the basic hypothesis takes on considerable importance, for it is under just such conditions that the most adaptive action may sometimes be inaction.

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