Political Science professor releases new book

The Department of Political Science is pleased to announce a new book authored by David Patrick Houghton, titled The Decision Point: Six Cases in U.S. Foreign Policy Decision Making, published by Oxford University Press. 

In this book, Dr. Houghton shows students how real American foreign policy makers make real decisions. The book introduces advanced undergraduates and beginning postgraduates to three basic theories of decision-making, examining in particular the part played by organizational, group, and individual psychological forces in the formulation of decisions.

It describes these general approaches in terms of three theories, each of which captures a different dimension of governmental decision-making: Homo Bureaucraticus, Homo Sociologicus and Homo Psychologicus. It then applies each of the perspectives to six well-known historical cases that range from classic to contemporary: the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, the Iran Hostage Crisis, the Kosovo War, and the Iraq War. Houghton uses the crucial ‘decision points’ of these events to give students a sense of what it is actually like to make high-level decisions. The book covers recent advances in the field–including relatively new psychological models like prospect theory and poliheuristic theory–and is intended to serve as a standalone introductory guide to Foreign Policy Decision-Making or as a supplement to all courses in American Foreign Policy.

David Patrick Houghton is an Associate Professor of Political Science and has taught at the University of Central Florida since 2003. He taught at the University of Pittsburgh for three years as a Teaching Fellow, and from 1996 to 2003 was a Lecturer in the Department of Government at the University of Essex in England. Between 2001 to 2002 he was also a Visiting Scholar at the Mershon Center, Ohio State University.

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