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Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance--and Why They Fall Paperback – January 6, 2009
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Her basic thesis is that (1) hyperpowers fail because they become intolerant, thus excluding the skills and contributions of some of their most promising minorities, causing these minorities to emmigrate and enrich their rivals, and in extreme cases causing these minorities to revolt and overthrow the hyperpower;(2) successful hyperpowers have a "glue" that binds its members together, in the form of a shared idea or citizenship and she cites the Roman Empire and the British Empire have been successful at this generating this idea of citizenship that its members have aspired towards. The United States has a strong glue that binds its citizens through a shared ideaology but because it is a democracy it cannot extend this citizenship to other nations as they will then have vote in how it is governed, thereby excluding other nations from what makes it successful.
Both these ideas are extremely interesting and could provide much fodder for in depth analysis. Unfortunately she aims for breath over depth and leaves me unconvinced. For instance when dealing with a massive subject such as the fall of the Roman Empire she spends a paragraph dealing with alternative explanations for the fall, but then quickly cuts to her major argument that the intolerance of a Christian Rome was a significant factor in the subsequent decline. This approach would be acceptable were it to provide penetrating insights, or pertinent anecdotes, or little know facts or figures to bolster her argument.Read more ›
The author compares hyperpowers of the past to those who almost were as well as to the contemporary ones. Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan & the former Soviet Union are some examples. The book is divided into three parts with four chapters in each. "Part- 1 Ch1, The Tolerance Of Barbarians. Ch-1, The First Hegemon-Achemenid Persia. Ch-2, Tolerance In Rome's High Empire. Ch-3, China's Golden Age. Ch-4, The Great Mongol Empire.Part-2 The Enlightening Of Tolerance Ch-5, The Purification Of Medieval Spain. Ch-6, The Dutch World Empire. Ch-7, Tolerance & Intolerance In The East. Ch-8, The British Empire.Part-3 The Future Of World Dominance. Ch-9, The American Hyperpower. Ch-10, The Rise & Fall Of The Axis Powers. Ch-11, The Challengers. Ch-12, The Day Of Empire." I would read this chapter first & then the whole book.
In short the hyperpowers of Persia, Rome, Tang dynasty China, the Mongols, the Dutch, the British, & the USA in different ways & for various lengths of time were the most successful & influential in history. While Ming China, & the empires of Spain & the Ottoman Turks were "might have beens as far as hyperpowers go." The former do to its isolationism, & the latter two do to their varying degrees of intolerance, the suppression of knowledge, & lack of a home grown innovative & commercial class. Both of these constantly had to hire foreigner merchants & bankers to keep their economies going. They also often had to hire foreigners to help build their navies since their own technology was often stagnant. The irony that the Jews & Arabs who were brutally expelled from Spain, would eventually reinvigorate the Ottomans.Read more ›
This new work is equally original. Now she has done a series of studies on history's hyperpowers, and how they achieved that status. Surprisingly, the key to achieving hyperpower success is not brute force and imposition of a monoculture, but tolerance and acceptance of other cultures. And, on the downside, if this diversity is not properly managed, it will lead to the hyperpower's decline.
The hyperpowers studied are a diverse group. They include Achaemenid Persia, Rome's High Empire, Tang China, Genghis Khan's Mongol Empire, the Ottoman and Mughal Empires, the Spanish, Dutch, British, and American Empires. With such a varied list, critics will pounce and demand a sharper definition of terms. Professional historians will be quick to point out novice mistakes.
First the term hyperpower. By this term, Chua means not merely a great power or a superpower, but a world-dominant power. A power that amassed such military and economic strength that no other power on earth could challenge it.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am not a historian. I am not sure history can be analyzed using the single parameter of "tolerance". Nevertheless, I enjoy reading this book immensely. Read morePublished 21 days ago by David T. Yu
As a scholar, I'd probably give this two or three stars. As a lay reader, I'll give it a generous four. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Stuart Shapiro
I really liked how she wrote an easily readable history book with a very clearly defined thesis. Interesting take on events I felt I already knew pretty well.Published 2 months ago by Robert Nesselroth
This is enjoyable as it is enlightening. The premise (that diversity is one requirement for long-term success and a tolerant society) may not be universally accepted, but the... Read morePublished 6 months ago by David M. Freedman
Very good book on topics most people will avoid. The author expressed deep opinions our decision makers should at least take a look at if they care about America's future. Read morePublished 8 months ago by North Sunny