Fareed Zakaria, the managing editor of Foreign Affairs
, tries to understand why the United States decided in 1898 that it was time to start acting like a world power. His answer lies in the transference of the government's main power from Congress, which was concerned primarily with the needs of its individual constituencies, to a presidency occupied by dynamic leaders such as Benjamin Harrison and Theodore Roosevelt, who once declared that "when the interests of the American people demanded that a certain act should be done, and I had the power to do it, I did it unless it was specifically prohibited by law."
The lessons Zakaria learns from the example of America have useful applications to contemporary political science; one might consider, for example, the ways in which a politically unified Germany or a economically powerful Japan differs from the 19th-century America that was politically and economically strong; the presence of both qualities would appear to be required for a nation to flex its muscles on the international scene. Although it never quite completely answers the "why," From Wealth to Power does extremely well on the "how" and the even more important "so?"
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"[From Wealth to Power
's] tightly argued thesis addresses a question sure to be revisited.... Its conclusions are both provocative and full of implications for the world today."--Walter A. McDougall, The New York Times Book Review
"Mr. Zakaria persuasively illustrates [his] argument by examining America's emergence as a great power.... [His] account of turn-of-the-century American diplomacy is concise and insightful."--Aaron L. Friedberg, The Wall Street Journal
"A significant contribution to the study of international relations."--Choice