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Flight of the Eagle: The Grand Strategies That Brought America from Colonial Dependence to World Leadership Hardcover – May 28, 2013
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Praise for The Invincible Quest: The Life of Richard Milhouse Nixon:
"Black is a versatile and thorough biographer who brings not only sympathy but eloquent clarity to his task....Black's superb volume, incorporating much new research, is an important and worthy addition to the literature." Publishers Weekly
"A rollicking read....[Black] has a rare talent for serious history, and the talent to tell it well." The Guardian --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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It is primarily focused on foreign relations and policies. Reading the various relationships and squabbles reminded me of petulant children constantly bickering and in the need of an adult figure to maintain some sort of order. Unfortunately though, these squabbles led to the well known horrific events that dominated the 20th century.
The largest shortcoming of this book is the lack of strategy. The subtitle is somewhat misleading as the author rarely presents his theories on why America remained so dominant. He does not compare and contrast the ideas and political implementations that led to the various outcomes between different nations, but rather lists them chronologically, I was really hoping for a more philosophical work that integrated the underlying principles that were at the root of both America's success and so many other countries' failures.
The author does not appear to be politically biased one way or the other. He often congratulates enlargement of government, but also takes some unusually supportive positions of people such as RIchard Nixon. It's not so much that he sticks to a middle of the road tack but rather swtiches from one side to the other.
Overall, this is a broad and important work of scholarship that must have taken an enormous amount of time and research. The author methodically presents the rise and sustainment of the greatest country to ever exist.
Wasn't it W. C. Fields who said "Even a man who hates children and small dogs can't be all bad?"
Black tells the whole story of the American experience from the French and Indian Wars (1756-61) all the way through to the Obama presidential administration. He ranks Washington, Lincoln, FDR and Reagan as our greatest chief executives. Black spends a good deal of ink discussing United States foreign policy and the major issues facing each POTUS. Each presidential election is covered with insight. Black is bluntly outspoken in his commentary which will keep your interest and force your mind to think. I was greatly informed by this book and have a new respect fro the greatness of the United States. The book is history writing at its apex! The book is rife with quotable quotes. A sampling of them are included below:
Black on the ending of the American Revolution: "Yorktown did not end the war but...knocked the stuffing out of the morale of one side while lifting the other."-p. 76
"Jefferson, though an elitist, favored a broad suffrage."-p. 94
"Problems between neutralist America and the compulsively belligerent revolutionary government of France were not long in coming."-p. 102
"Jefferson...was a great expander of the country...and one of the most politically gifted and effective leaders in the country's history."-p. 126
On the War of 1812-"The British only cuffed the Americans about because they ruled the oceans and knew that the United States had no military capability to inconvenience them in Canada or the West Indies."-p. 132
On Andrew Jackson-"...one of the four most American presidents in the first 140 years of its history."-p. 144
The state of the United States at the end of the Civil War-"America was unbound, before a limitless horizon."-p. 244
On American entry into World War I-"The American entry into the war came as Allied fortunes were being...stretched."-p. 319
On American assistance to Great Britain during World War II-"British determination and courage, and American industrial might would keep Britain durably in the war."-p. 386
"As 1944 opened, the forces of Stalin, MacArthur, Nimitz and Alexander were all in inexorable progress towards their objectives, Berlin, Manila, Tokyo and Rome."-p. 427
"Truman and Churchill...got on very well."-p. 452. (At the Potsdam Conference in 1945)
"Vietnam was the strangest and most unsatisfactory war in American history."-p. 578
On Watergate and the resignation of President Nixon in 1974-"Not even Greek dramatist, tragic or comic, had imagined this plot."-p. 617
"Ronald Reagan was one of the most astonishing characters ever to occupy the presidency of the United States."-p. 642
On the collapse of the Soviet Union-"The USSR was like a jalopy going at excessive speed and starting to fall apart."-p. 655
"Richard Nixon was correct that only Americans can defeat and humiliate the United States..."-p. 699
In a time of historical amnesia this fine book is a welcome addition to any American's bookshelf. Excellent and well recommended.
Most recent customer reviews
An well written and exciting read that includes concurrent events in Canada,...Read more