Qty:1
  • List Price: $25.95
  • Save: $3.66 (14%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Colossus: The Price of Am... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it is still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Colossus: The Price of America's Empire Hardcover – April 22, 2004


See all 9 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$22.29
$3.68 $0.01


Frequently Bought Together

Colossus: The Price of America's Empire + Civilization: The West and the Rest + The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World
Price for all three: $65.24

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The; First Edition edition (April 22, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594200130
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594200137
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.3 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"The United States today is an empire—but a peculiar kind of empire," writes Niall Ferguson. Despite overwhelming military, economic, and cultural dominance, America 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, a British historian, has no objection to an American empire, as long as it is a liberal one actively underwriting the free exchange of goods, labor, and capital. Further, he writes that "empire is more necessary in the twenty-first century than ever before" as a means to "contain epidemics, depose tyrants, end local wars and eradicate terrorist organizations." 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 U.S. 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 Americanization has occurred, he writes. Overall, a trenchant examination of a uniquely American dilemma and its implications for the rest of the world. --Shawn Carkonen

From Publishers Weekly

Criticism of the U.S. government's imperialist tendencies has become nearly ubiquitous since the invasion of Iraq began nearly a year ago, but Ferguson would like America to embrace its imperial character. Just as in his previous book, Empire, he argued that the British Empire had done much good, he now suggests that "many parts of the world would benefit from a period of American rule," as stability and a lack of corruption that could be brought by liberal imperial government would result in capital investment and growth. Similarly, he says, the British Empire acted as "an engine for the integration of international capital markets." The problems nations like India faced after the British left, he continues, could have been ameliorated if the colonization had been more comprehensive, more securely establishing the types of institutions that foster long-term prosperity. The primary shortcoming of America's approach to empire, Ferguson believes, is that it prefers in-and-out military flourishes to staying in for the long haul. His criticism of Americans as a people who "like social security more than they like national security" and refuse to confront impending economic disaster are withering, but he also has sharp comments for those who imagine a unified Europe rising up to confront America and for the way France tried to block the Iraqi invasion. The erudite and often statistical argument has occasional flashes of wit and may compel liberals to rethink their opposition to intervention, even as it castigates conservatives for their lackluster commitment to nation building.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Niall Ferguson is one of our most renowned historians. He is the bestselling author of numerous books, including The War of the World, Colossus, and Empire.

Customer Reviews

This is a very well written book with lots of facts and figures.
J. Robinson
Ferguson seems lost in a time warp here (and I speak both as a supporter of a strong U.S. foreign policy and an admirer of the British Empire).
Jeffery Steele
Ferguson's message in Colossus is that an American imperial role would be a good thing for the world in general.
Leonard J. Wilson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

241 of 249 people found the following review helpful By Kirk H Sowell on October 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
Ferguson's thesis is basically as follows: the world is a very dangerous place because it contains menacing terrorist and criminal organizations along with numerous states which are either (a) unstable or failed states and thus breeding grounds for the aforementioned (e.g. Afghanistan), or (b) all-too-stable states which give support to the same. Given that (1) the UN's membership is made up of tyrants (e.g. Zimbabwe), dysfunctional governments (e.g. Congo) and states which are simply irresponsible (e.g. Russia), and that (2) Europe is too weak both militarily and morally to keep order, the United States has to do it. Yet the U.S. itself may be unable to fill this role due to its financial imbalances and the unwillingness of individual Americans to serve abroad or even pay attention to what is happening.

Overall evaluation: The fact that I give this book a "five star" rating should not imply that agree with it entirely. Ferguson sets forth several main theses, with which I agree entirely, and along the way makes numerous judgments on ancillary issues, several with which I disagree. I am a specialist in Middle East affairs, and I think Ferguson's understanding of the region is basically sound and much better than most who write about these things. I disagree with a few factual evaluations, but I only noticed one blatant factual error: the Abu Nidal Organization (formed in 1973) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (formed in 1967) did not arise in the 1980s with Hizbullah and Hamas, and furthermore they were (the ANO doesn't exist now) and are not Islamist or identified with Islam in any significant way (as misstated on pages 123-124).

This book is valuable and worth reading for two reasons.
Read more ›
9 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
160 of 173 people found the following review helpful By David A. Baer VINE VOICE on August 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
This troubling book by a prolific scholar of empire dissects the American version of that phenomenon in eight well-researched chapters and a conclusion. Ominously, his first four chapters are grouped under the title 'Rise' and the last four under 'Fall?'. Ferguson's personal interest in empire and his unusually positive appreciation of its role in human history is best understood by first reading EMPIRE: THE RISE AND DEMISE OF THE BRITISH WORLD ORDER AND THE LESSONS FOR GLOBAL POWER.

Ferguson is convinced that empires can only be understood comparatively-by comparing one with another-and against the alternative of anarchy. This brings a welcome realism to the discussion of how empires should and shouldn't behave. His interest in empire is not merely academic. He confesses in his epilogue what his book theorizes throughout: 'I believe the world needs an effective liberal empire and that the United States is the best candidate for the job'.

The author believes that America has always been an empire but is afflicted with the peculiar need to deny this fact. Popular criticism considers empire a bad thing, but because Ferguson insists that we take seriously what has happened in the absence of empire, he stands apart from those whose reflex is to equate empire with oppression and the unjust imposition of alien structures. Ferguson wishes that America would get over its denial complex and get on with being a productive empire in a world that, more often than not, simply needs that.

In 'The Limits of the American Empire' (ch. 1, pp. 33-60), Ferguson shows that Americans thought, spoke, and wrote in imperial terms from the moment of their secession from the British Empire. Often this was articulated in stark contrast to their self-identity as the anti-empire.
Read more ›
4 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
122 of 141 people found the following review helpful By Thomas M. Sullivan on July 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You will correctly surmise from purusing other reviews of this work that Niall Ferguson's books attract very well informed and thoughtful readers who are not at all reluctant to let him have it if in their view he strays too far into the counterfactual world he helped revive and refine with his works such as "Virtual History." My own take on the rather strong negative reactions engendered by "Colossus" here and elsewhere is that they are generated--like many counterfactuals--by Ferguson's message being taken too seriously on the one hand and not seriously enough on the other. "Colossus" is an essay on possibilities, not a prescription for world domination. It asks--and attempts to answer--the question of why the United States is such a reluctant world leader (in terms of active intervention in its affairs) and explores the possible implications of its shedding its historical aversion to international activism.

What I find lacking in negative reviews is an appreciation, however reluctant, of the value of this inquiry whatever the likelihood of its practical application. And this failure to "get" the message I attribute latently to our historic isolationism and explicitly to the same cause Ferguson highlights as one of the principal reasons why we are unlikely to change our minds: our national attention deficit disorder.

Irag provides the perfect illustration of one of Ferguson's most telling points: we were hardly there before we said we were leaving and then reinforced our apparent disenchantment with the enterprise by becoming politically irrational and transfixed by prisoner abuse and the failure to find WMD's.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?