Hardly could I fail to notice in this review of Professor Nye’s book the view of Stanley Hoffmann that France and America had good reasons for believing their national experience to be exceptional. But I must differ. Yes, both had revolutions in the late 18th century which gave weight to such beliefs. However it took the French only a few years to transform their exceptionalism into ordinary territorial greed and in the years leading to WWII into racist chauvinism. It took the United States about the same amount of time to transform its exceptionalism into imperialism and international hypocrisy as well. Neither country can rest on its laurels.

Norman Ravitch *62
Savannah, Ga.