ISBN is

978-0-14-303479-7 / 0143034790

Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire

by Ferguson, Niall

Publisher:Penguin Books

Edition:Softcover

Language:English

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About the book:

"The United States today is an empire--but a peculiar kind of empire", writes Niall Ferguson in Colossus: the Rise and Fall of the American Empire. Despite overwhelming military, economic and cultural dominance, the US has had a difficult time imposing its will on other nations, mostly because the country is uncomfortable with imperialism and thus unable to use this power most effectively and decisively. The origin of this attitude and its persistence is a principal theme of this thought-provoking book, including how domestic politics affects foreign policy, whether it is politicians worried about the next election or citizens who "like Social Security more than national security".

Ferguson, author of Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World, has no objection to an American empire, as long as it is a liberal one actively underwriting the free exchange of goods, labour and capital. Further, he writes that "empire is more necessary in the 21st century than ever before" as a means to "contain epidemics, depose tyrants end local wars and eradicate terrorist organisations". The sooner America embraces this role and acts on it confidently, the better.

Ferguson contrasts this persistent anti-imperialistic urge with the attitude held by the British Empire and suggests that America has much to learn from that model if it is to achieve its stated foreign policy objectives of spreading social freedom, democracy, development and the free market to the world. He suggests that the US must be willing to send money, civilians and troops for a sustained period of time to troubled spots if there is to be real change, as in Japan and Germany after World War II--an idea that many American citizens and leaders now find repulsive. Rather than devoting limited resources and striving to get complex jobs done in a rush, Americans must be willing to integrate themselves into a foreign culture until a full Americanisation has occurred, he writes.

Overall, this is a trenchant examination of a uniquely American dilemma and its implications for the rest of the world. --Shawn Carkonen, Amazon.com

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