"Arndt's work is a valuable resource for specialists in U.S. foreing relations. His encyclopedic knowledge, first-person perspective, and timely warnings about the perils of American solipsism make this study essential reading for anyone concerned with 'why they hate us.'"
Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, Autumn 2009
". . . .people who enjoy history will find this book a real treasure. . . .With the skill of a master mosaicist, Arndt pieces together archives, interviews, and personal experiences to reveal the inner workings of diplomacy."
"[Arndt's] lengthy and well-written book examines the people, programs, ideas, and debates that have shaped U.S. cultural diplomacy. . . .No other book has, or is likely to have, comparable scope and detail. . . . He has provided an essential and encyclopedic resource for anyone interested in the past and future of cultural diplomacy. The book appears to be the product of a lifetime of work and of research, and it is passionately and eloquently written."
American Historical Review
"Never in the history of the republic have we Americans been so cordially disliked around the world. Never have we needed an effective strategy for cultural diplomacy more. In The First Resort of Kings, Richard Arndt presents the neglected history of American cultural diplomacy, and his story is as accurate and engrossing as it is depressing. We desperately need to do better, and Arndt has some important advice about how and where we can improve. This is a valuable book for anyone who cares about improving America’s place in the world."
Stanley N. Katz, professor of public and international affairs, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University
"A massive and disturbing discussion of the bureaucratic politics and the general schizophrenia that have informed America’s attitude toward ‘cultural diplomacy.’ Richard Arndt gives us an insider’s examination of the best, and the worst, official efforts to create a favorable image of the U.S. abroad."
Joseph LaPalombara, senior research scholar and Wolfers Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Management, Yale University
"With twenty-four years of direct experience in America’s efforts at cultural diplomacy, Richard Arndt is adept at sorting out the petty bureaucratic struggles from the serious efforts of many talented practitioners to find an answer to the proper role of our government in this policy minefield. His broad intellectual background and his felicitous expression make him an ideal guide through this contentious field, and his many personal portraits of distinguished Americans in our recent history are a real treat."
Arthur Hartman, former U.S. ambassador to France and the Soviet Union
"An intriguing book."
Internationale Spectator (Netherlands)
". . . .a vitally important history of the neglect and occasional ostracism within federal bureaucracies of the mechanisms for cultural understanding between the United States and other nations of the world in favor of information. . . .[Arndt's] plan for the rehabilitation of cultural diplomacy deserves a wide audience."
American Studies Journal, Summer 2006