On Empire: America, War, and Global Supremacy

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Pantheon Books, 2008 - Political Science - 97 pages
5 Reviews
In there four incisive and keenly perceptive essays, one of out most celebrated and respected historians of modern Europe looks at the world situation and some of the major political problems confronting us at the start of the third millennium.

With his usual measured and brilliant historical perspective, Eric Hobsbawm traces the rise of American hegemony in the twenty-first century. He examines the state of steadily increasing world disorder in the context of rapidly growing inequalities created by rampant free-market globalization. He makes clear that there is no longer a plural power system of states whose relations are governed by common laws--including those for the conduct of war. He scrutinizes America's policies, particularly its use of the threat of terrorism as an excuse for unilateral deployment of its global power. Finally, he discusses the ways in which the current American hegemony differs from the defunct British Empire in its inception, its ideology, and its effects on nations and individuals.

Hobsbawm is particularly astute in assessing the United States' assertion of world hegemony, its denunciation of formerly accepted international conventions, and its launching of wars of aggression when it sees fit. Aside from the naivete and failure that have surrounded most of these imperial campaigns, Hobsbawm points out that foreign values and institutions--including those associated with a democratic government--can rarely be imposed on countries such as Iraq by outside forces unless the conditions exist that make them acceptable and readily adaptable.

Timely and accessible,On Empireis a commanding work of history that should be read by anyone who wants some understanding of the turbulent times in which we live.

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Review: On Empire: America, War, and Global Supremacy

User Review  - Stephen - Goodreads

This is a very slight volume, both in size and content. Hobsbawm's observations here are for the most part blindingly obvious. He gives a short account why the empires of the past are no longer ... Read full review

Review: On Empire: America, War, and Global Supremacy

User Review  - James - Goodreads

A short collection of essays focused on why American imperialism, particularly in Iraq, cannot be successful. The highlight of the book is the last essay, comparing the British and American Empires. A useful introduction and thought-provoking examination. Read full review

About the author (2008)

Eric Hobsbawm is a fellow of the British Academy and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has taught at the University of London, the College de France, MIT, Cornell. and the Graduate Faculty of The New School for Social Research. He is the author of more than twenty books. He lives in London.

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