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The Imperial Tense: Prospects and Problems of American Empire

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1566635325
ISBN-10: 1566635322
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

There's a host of issues surrounding the U.S. and what many see as its empire as it pushes to confront terrorism-and this balanced collection of mostly scholarly articles addresses many of them. For the most part, the pieces are nuanced, examining subtleties in a world where the U.S. is the sole global power. There are no epiphanies, but pieces discuss such topics as how the U.S. can both confront authoritarian regimes and promote human rights, how American policy should change in order to prevent a further international backlash and whether the U.S. is doomed to fall, like previous empires. Some of the articles gathered by Bacevich (American Empire) hew to familiar arguments-a few, like journalist Charles Krauthammer, argue unabashedly for American power; others seem stuck in a pompous, crude anti-Americanism, as when John Millbank calls on the West "to abandon our global idolatrous worship of sacralized absolute sovereignty, and the formally neutral market." But these pieces are the exceptions. To the editor's credit, the essays appear to be carefully chosen, with an equal number critical and accepting of America's increasing global power. At their best, they display a measure of wit, as when one essayist writes: "Whatever its fate, America, too, will live on-for its Constitution, its movies, and for having placed the first man on the moon."
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


This captivating collection addresses the most important issue facing the United States in the coming century. (Richard H. Kohn, Chair, Curriculum in Peace, War, and Defense, Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, former Chief of)

Bacevich has performed a valuable service. (David Pryce-Jones)

First-rate...a most valuable collection. (Walter LaFeber)

He has done the ongoing debate about America's role in the world a great service by bringing these pieces together in a convenient package. (Virginia Quarterly Review)

An outstanding introduction to the growing debate on the implications and import of US 'hyperpower.' (CHOICE)

...Provides a panoramic view of the empire debate... (Concord Bridge)

...This collection reflects most of the distribution curve of current opinion on the subject. (The American Conservative)

...Well worth reading for…bracing arguments, pro and con, on whether or in what sense America is an empire. (First Things)

The essays collected…are a curious amalgam of military hubris and cultural anxiety: they dutifully document both America's truly awesome military reach and the widespread national uncertainty about what to do with it. (The New York Review Of Books)

An especially useful guide to a complex and controversial debate. (Michael Cox Royal United Services Institute Journal)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Ivan R. Dee (August 6, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566635322
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566635325
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,002,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By N. Tsafos on September 25, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The debate on the American Empire takes place on several levels simultaneously: on one axis is the question of whether America is an empire, and if so, what kind of empire is it? It is obviously different from past empires because it is hardly territorial; but it still exerts its influence in ways that Rome or Britain would have found unimaginable. On another other axis rests the issue of the impact of the American imperium: is it a force for peace and stability or upheaval and destruction? Then, there is an issue of strategy: how should American policymakers conduct their affairs? What should citizens do?

These are some of the questions addressed in "The Imperial Tense," a book edited by Andrew Bacevich, a professor of International Relations at Boston University. Mr. Bacevich is no stranger to empire. His book, American Empire, was widely acclaimed; its central argument was that, however in denial, America's commitment to empire is not only real but also a central component of its foreign policy. He now brings that expertise in collecting some of the finest perspectives on the problems and prospects of the American Empire.

The selections are diverse just as they insightful; David Rieff carves out the problems of humanitarian intervention; Deepek Lal writes to defend Empires; Charles Krauthammer praises America's unipolar era; David North admonishes America's drive for world domination; Peter Bender, Andrew Bacevich, Jedediah Purdy, David Marquand, James Chance, Martin Walker, Victor Davis Hanson all explore America's position as a unique empire; Josh Milblank, Stanley Hoffman, G. John Ikenberry, Charles Maier, Stephen Peter Rosen debate America's imperial strategies; and Wendell Berry, Gabriel Ash and James Kurth speculate on America's future.
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Format: Paperback
This collection of arguments on compelling problems of America provides a range of viewpoints, invites debates and consideration of all sides, and surveys issues important to humanitarian causes. From assessments of American global domination and imperialist purposes in the world to its quest for security and expanded world influence, this provides an essential source of particular recommendation to high school and college-level courses on social issues.
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