America Through Foreign Eyes: Classic Interpretations of American Political Life
The United States of America is the world's lone superpower-a cultural, military, political, and economic hegemon that many foreigners view with a mixture of fascination and fear, admiration and loathing, and, certainly, envy. Montreal-born poet, novelist, and singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen captured this ambivalence in the song 'Democracy' when he called the US 'the cradle of the best and of the worst'.
The unique qualities and problems of the US, and the special promise of America, have been recognized for many years, and some of the most insightful analyses have been crafted by foreigners-brief sojourners, those on a particular intellectual mission, and others, who, while remaining essentially 'foreign', spent a long time in the country. In America Through Foreign Eyes, Canadian political scientist Stephen Brooks presents five classic interpreters of the American polity-Alexis de Tocqueville, Lord James Bryce, Gunnar Myrdal, Harold Laski, and Simone de Beauvoir. Chapters devoted to each of these thinkers highlight their perceptions and analyses of America; place their writings in the historical and intellectual context of their times; and demonstrate how their insights and judgments have and have not stood the test of time.
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