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Understanding Anti-Americanism: Its Origins and Impact at Home and Abroad

9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1566636162
ISBN-10: 1566636167
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Understanding Anti-Americanism: Its Origins and Impact at Home and Abroad + Anti-Americanisms in World Politics (Cornell Studies in Political Economy) + Hating America: A History
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The essays collected here, by political scientists, foreign policy experts and other scholars, cast a skeptical eye on previous accounts of their subject, arguing that true anti-Americanism is an extreme hostility born of, in editor Hollander's words, "a deep-seated, emotional predisposition" to loathe the U.S. rather than one based on rational critique. With varying levels of persuasiveness, each essay isolates a different strand of anti-Americanism in its cultural context of origin. Anthony Daniels paints France as an anxious, judgmental, contradictory former colonial power, threatened by invasive "Anglo-Saxon" (read "American") culture and the English language. Michael Freund analyzes Germany's relation to the U.S. by making detailed reference to 19th- and 20th-century German philosophical thinkers. Patrick Clawson and Barry Rubin argue that Middle Eastern anti-Americanism is spawned more by the scapegoating tendencies of radical Arab nationalism than by U.S. foreign policy. David Brooks, Mark Falcoff and Walter D. Connor suggest a pattern of frustration, failure, bitterness, blame and envy in their essays on Nicaraguan, Cuban and Russian anti-Americanism. A final section on anti-Americanism at home scrutinizes the history of the U.S. Communist Party, Canadian and American feminists' purported moral relativism and anti-Americanism in U.S. popular culture. Because the collection emphasizes anti-Americanism as a vitriolic intellectual construction, some readers may find its tone overly defensive, particularly in relation to American foreign policy. Nevertheless, the sense of cultural contradictions and differing philosophical legacies that the collection conveys is enriching and allows anti-Americanism to be viewed less as a bundle of generalizations and more in terms of the cultural particularity of each country and region.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


A fascinating collection of essays on a complex but important topic by some of America’s foremost scholars and thinkers. (Robert Kagan)

Paul Hollander leads a distinguished team of scholars in an examination, both vigorous and detached.... A serious, comprehensive book relevant for today. (Harvey Mansfield, professor of government, Harvard University)

Understanding Anti-Americanism fills a vital niche [and] surpasses what one expects from a multi-author study, for Hollander brought together an all-star cast of writers who jointly mull over and draw insightful conclusions. (Daniel Pipes, director, Middle East Forum; author of Militant Islam Comes to America)

Mr. Hollander and his contributors make some excellent diagnoses. (Jay Nordlinger New York Sun)

The enriching... (Publishers Weekly)

What the 18 assembled authors conclude is both fascinating and depressing…. Hollander has performed a great service with this volume... (National Review)

Valuable collection... (Arch Puddington Commentary)

Essential for anyone in American studies, political sociology or international relations. (Yves Laberge Political Studies Review)

A masterful job.... Each entry is limpid, thoughtful, and often incisive. (Bryan-Paul Frost Society)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Ivan R. Dee (May 25, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566636167
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566636162
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,805,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

105 of 116 people found the following review helpful By Wayne A. VINE VOICE on August 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I just happen to live in the same community as the author although I don't know him personally. One can listen and read all the theory and opinion of the Left about world issues but all one really needs to do is immerse oneself in a "People's Republic" college atmosphere to get a true understanding of the real thinking behind the rhetoric. Did I say thinking? What we have confronting us here is an immense tautology: Americans who have made up their minds that their country, its history, its people, are bad, who only accept information that confirms this point of view, and who immediately invalidate any contrary evidence. The amount of historical ignorance in this college community is astonishing. My "favorite" comment, by a graduate of Smith College no less--typical of what one can hear on the streets or in a coffee shop daily--was "We dropped the bomb on Hiroshima AFTER the Japanese surrendered." Too many people here unthinkingly believe these sorts of lies and distortions, and this is a grotesque example. Imagine the thinking that goes on regarding complex and subtle issues

Another Smith grad, almost in tears, admitted to me that after six years of private school and four years at one of our most prestigious women's colleges she knew absolutely nothing about history. Oh, she knew plenty about women's issues and imperialism and gender theory and racism but when I gave her a book on the general history of this century she was shocked over, for example, Woodrow Wilson's attempts to create a permanent peace and a League of Nations. You see, she'd been taught that the whole history of history, the "white male patriarchy," was one of non-stop oppression and exploitation.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By B. Mandell on May 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have purchased this book from Amazon and read several of its chapters. This book consists of articles by many thoughtful writers on the causes of anti-Americanism organized by region. The book is insightful and it is hard to disregard its contents simply from one political perspective or another, since it presents a multitude of arguments from qualified sources. Sadly, idiots like the previous reviewer, J.D. Shockley, is cutting and pasting "a review" of this book that in no way addresses it contents, and which he has used in its exact same form to "review" multiple different books. His review is an abuse of the Amazon review system, because it reveals nothing but his personal political beliefs. This book has merit as both a highly readable and academic analysis of the many regionally and culturally specific root causes of anti-Americanism in different parts of the world. I recommend it highly, because the articles reveal many of the cultural and political elements, such as reactions against globalism and an advocacy of socialism that colors so much of the anti-American perspectives that we hear.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jill Malter on July 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book begins with a fine introduction by Paul Hollander, who points out that one aspect of anti-Americanism is a bogus attempt to equate the United States or its policies with those of National Socialist Germany, the Soviet Union, or Arab terrorism. And he mentions some of the fiercer domestic "criticism" of our nation.

James Ceasar then discusses the philosophical origins of anti-Americanism in Europe. We see the image of the United States as MacDonald's, Disneyland, and Microsoft. But that's unfair, of course. I rarely eat at MacDonald's: much better hamburgers are available elsewhere. I dislike Disneyland, but I do like some of our fine National Parks, including Yellowstone. And I do use Microsoft products, even though I admit that they have some serious inherent flaws. There is no need to blame America for one's dislike of some of its less attractive products of course. The rest of the world is at least as responsible.

Anthony Daniels talks about French anti-Americanism. He explains that French is no longer the language of all civilized men. Instead, it is the sixth most common European language, with fewer native speakers than English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and German.

Michael Mosbacher and Digby Anderson write about British anti-Americanism. That includes a discussion of Harold Pinter, who regards America as waging war against the rest of the world. And we see combined effects of radicalized Islamists and a left-wing anti-American elite, as well as a few folks on the far right. Michael Freund's chapter is on Germany, and he makes an interesting between opposition to modernity in National Socialist times, and anti-American anti-modernist tendencies today.
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31 of 46 people found the following review helpful By 21and12 on December 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book. However, unlike the suggested censorship of the LBHR, you must decide for yourself whether to read it or not.
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5 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Herbert L Calhoun on July 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book, although it quotes profusely the "real" reasons for anti-Americanism given by a wide range of intellectuals from both sides of the Atlantic in its introduction, oddly still fails to follow up those items in the text of the book. As a result, it falls short of addressing the issues of Anti-Americanism directly, preferring instead to make an oblique "right turn" leaving a "smoke-screen like" trail of a intellectualized but thinly veiled reactionary defense of the "American way" disguised as giving the reader the "real" reasons for anti-Americanism.

By choosing to abstract, intellectualize and then obfuscate as they telescoped and watered down the comments of those they quoted in the introduction, these authors have cancelled their academic bona fides and a great deal of their academic integrity in the process. The authors' list is a safe, narrow, anodyne but ultimately disingenuous set of rationalizations that fails to pass the laugh test. By excluding U.S. support of Israel, the editor of this volume have undermined their own credibility and ensured that no one will take them seriously. Their list of (1) the fall of communism, (2) the assertion of American military power, (3) the personality of GW Bush, (4) globalization, and (5) Arab fundamentalism, sadly only represents their massaging of their own data to cover their thinly veiled ideological agenda.

As someone who worked in the UN for over 20 years, and heard daily, personally and incessantly from that body's international diplomats the same reasons given by those quoted in the introduction, I can attest to the fact that the editor had it right in the quotes he disparaged in the introduction. Those quotes contained the "real" reasons for anti-Americanism.
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