The Myth of American Exceptionalism

Front Cover
Yale University Press, Feb 1, 2010 - History - 221 pages
8 Reviews

The idea that the United States is destined to spread its unique gifts of democracy and capitalism to other countries is dangerous for Americans and for the rest of the world, warns Godfrey Hodgson in this provocative book. Hodgson, a shrewd and highly respected British commentator, argues that America is not as exceptional as it would like to think; its blindness to its own history has bred a complacent nationalism and a disastrous foreign policy that has isolated and alienated it from the global community.

Tracing the development of America’s high self regard from the early days of the republic to the present era, Hodgson demonstrates how its exceptionalism has been systematically exaggerated and—in recent decades—corrupted. While there have been distinct and original elements in America’s history and political philosophy, notes Hodgson, these have always been more heavily influenced by European thought and experience than Americans have been willing to acknowledge.


A stimulating and timely assessment of how America’s belief in its exceptionalism has led it astray, this book is mandatory reading for its citizens, admirers, and detractors.

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Review: The Myth of American Exceptionalism

User Review  - Steven Yenzer - Goodreads

Frustratingly unfocused. This book should have been a short essay rather than a meandering 190-page bore. Hodgson spends too much time reviewing familiar historical events and digressing into ... Read full review

Review: The Myth of American Exceptionalism

User Review  - Wanda - Goodreads

This book deals with what the title states and with which I agree. According to the author, Americans have been sold a bill of goods that they are living in the 'best' country in the world, that we ... Read full review

About the author (2010)

Godfrey Hodgson is a Fellow at the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford. He lives in Oxfordshire, UK.

Bibliographic information