An Empire Wilderness: Travels Into America's Future

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Random House, 1998 - Social Science - 393 pages
7 Reviews
Traveling, like Tocqueville and John Gunther before him, through a political and cultural landscape in transition, Kaplan reveals a nation shedding a familiar identity as it assumes a radically new one. "An Empire Wilderness" opens in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where the first white settlers moved into Indian country and where Manifest Destiny was born. In a world whose future conflicts can barely be imagined, it is also the place where the army trains its men to fight the next war. From Fort Leavenworth, Kaplan travels west to the great cities of the heartland -- to St. Louis, once a glorious shipping center expected to outshine imperial Rome and now touted, with its desolate inner city and miles of suburban gated communities, as 'the most average American city.' Kaplan continues west to Omaha; down through California; north from Mexico, across Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas; up to Montana and Canada, and back through Oregon. He visits Mexican border settlements and dust-blown county sheriffs' offices, Indian reservations and nuclear bomb plants, cattle ranches in the Oklahoma Panhandle, glacier-mantled forests in the Pacific Northwest, swanky postsuburban sprawls and grim bus terminals, and comes, at last, to the great battlefield at Vicksburg, Mississippi, where an earlier generation of Americans gave their lives for their vision of an American future. But what, if anything, he asks, will today's Americans fight and die for? The new America he found is in the pages of this book. Kaplan gives a precise and chilling vision of how the most successful nation the world has ever known is entering the final, and highly uncertain, phase of its history.

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Review: An Empire Wilderness: Travels Into America's Future

User Review  - Mark Selby - Goodreads

This book reads like a compliation of magazine articals. The author was a writer for The Atlantic. While the book is over ten years old now, it is interesting to compare his predictions to what is now ... Read full review

Review: An Empire Wilderness: Travels Into America's Future

User Review  - Rachael Thomas - Goodreads

Maybe not as current as it once was, but I remember this book being an eye opener for me Read full review



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About the author (1998)

Robert D. Kaplan is a contributing editor for The Atlantic Monthly and the author of five previous books on travel and foreign affairs. His bestseller Balkan Ghosts was chosen by The New York Times Book Review as one of the nine best books of 1993. The Ends of the Earth (also a bestseller) and The Arabists were chosen by The New York Times as notable books of the year in 1996 and 1993, respectively. He lives with his wife and son in western Massachusetts.

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