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The American Ascendancy: How the United States Gained and Wielded Global Dominance 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0807859636
ISBN-10: 080785963X
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Editorial Reviews


Broadly conceived, beautifully organized, lucidly written, and richly documented. . . . Essential.--CHOICE

A masterly overview of America's rise to its current status. . . . Given this outstanding book's breadth--both its temporal scope and the issues covered--a brief review cannot do it justice.--Journal of American History

A provocative book. . . . An impressively argued interpretation.--The International History Review

This engaging history of the United States' rise to global dominance explains how a weak and peripheral New World republic turned itself into the preeminent power of the twentieth century.--Foreign Affairs

Hunt writes with clarity and verve. . . . [This] should be on the desk of every candidate for national office.--American Historical Review

Compact but still reasonably detailed as well as illuminating. . . . Traces the broad lines of the national experience placing them with knowledge and balance within the context of global transformations.--Ricerche di Storia Politica

Displays an impressive command of the historical literature, an ability to tackle important contemporary questions, and a capacity to make connections about disparate problems in American history. . . . Hunt's informed review of how the U.S. reached its present dilemma will provide a much-needed historical perspective. Policy makers would do well to ponder this sobering record of how a national search for ascendancy can produce as many intractable problems as it solves.--Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

Hunt is a serious scholar, and there is much to learn from and about his explanation of America's ascendancy. . . . [A] sound study.--MetroMagazine

"This book is a marvel of research (the annotated bibliography itself is worth the price) and just plain thoughtfulness. . . . Michael Hunt has produced a study that both traditionalists and new diplomatic historians--as well as the public, including politicians--should read, and read again. . . . Students of American history will, I expect, look to this book as a standard of sweeping interpretation and information that surpasses all before it.--Thomas W. Zeiler, H-Diplo Roundtable Reviews

Provides crucial insights into the nation's controversial role in the world today and prospects for the durability of U.S. power.--Carolina Arts & Sciences


Not only does Hunt come as close as anyone reasonably can to answering the historical puzzle of how America rose from insignificance to world prominence, but he also provides an excellent history of the American experience. With a fascinating subject and a lively writing style, he offers an important contribution to the current debate about the United States' position in the world.--Piero Gleijeses, Johns Hopkins University

|Michael Hunt does not disappoint. He has written a stimulating overview of what was once called America's 'rise to power,' and he has done so by structuring his account around a set of themes and propositions rather than simple chronology. The book is everywhere enlivened by the author's active engagement in original research and his skillful tapping of the latest scholarship. He moves easily and fluidly through a complex set of historical events taking place over a very long period of time with a gracefulness very few historians achieve.--Marilyn Young, New York University

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (February 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080785963X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807859636
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book that goes into detail when it comes to explaining how we got to this point and I recommend that everyone should read at least once.
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ajit Balakrishnan on August 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Neoliberalism, the belief that it is safer to repose faith in markets than on a State is the operating philosophy in many countries today. What led to this triumph? Michael Hunt's book provides many of the answers.
He points first to the influence of ideas. Hayek's, "The Road to Serfdom" for instance which presented the State as a stop on the road to totalitarianism, Milton Friedman's "Capitalism and Freedom", which presents markets as not only efficient but also the only guarantor of freedom, to name just two.
He also points to the untiring proselytism of think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation and the failure of Keynsian, state-led initiatives to solve the stagflation of the '70's and most of all the collapse of the Soviet System in the late '90's which demolished faith in the centralized planned economy model.
The Western liberal democratic model has appeared to have triumphed to the point that Francis Fukuyama called it " the end of history", the final form of human government.
The American elite, Hunt says, now have substituted "globalization" as their over-riding mantra, leaving behind the Cold War mantra.
The power of Hunt's analysis is that he views all these movements as a continuation of of an efforts by the a small group of American thinkers and statesman to seek and achieve global dominance.
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