The American Century and Beyond: U.S. Foreign Relations, 1893-2014

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9780190212476: The American Century and Beyond: U.S. Foreign Relations, 1893-2014

In his last years as president of the United States, an embattled George Washington yearned for a time when his nation would have "the strength of a Giant and there will be none who can make us afraid." At the turn of the twentieth century, the United States seemed poised to achieve a position of world power beyond what even Washington could have imagined.

In The American Century and Beyond: U.S. Foreign Relations, 1893-2014, the second volume of a new split paperback edition of the award-winning From Colony to Superpower, George C. Herring recounts the rise of the United States from the dawn of what came to be known as the American Century. This fast-paced narrative tells a story of stunning successes and tragic failures, illuminating the central importance of foreign relations to the existence and survival of the nation. Herring shows how policymakers defined American interests broadly to include territorial expansion, access to growing markets, and the spread of the "American way of life." He recounts the United States' domination of the Caribbean and Pacific, its decisive involvement in two world wars, and the eventual victory in the half-century Cold War that left it, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world's lone superpower.

But the unipolar moment turned out to be stunningly brief. Since the turn of the twenty-first century, conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and the emergence of nations such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China have left the United States in a position that is uncertain at best. A new chapter brings Herring's sweeping narrative up through the Global War on Terror to the present.

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Book Description:

The strength of this book is the author's Herculean power of synthesis...Herring recaptures a quarter-millennium of American foreign policy with fluidity and felicity...we have long been waiting for a single-volume history like this one, and "From Colony to Superpower" deserves a place on the bookshelf. ( New York Times Book Review)

Its first achievement is its feat of inclusiveness, managed by making quick work of many interesting subplots of the United States' rich and complex relations with the world...The narrative power lies partly in identifying themes that gradually give a strong organizational cohesion to his story...It is revisionism of the best kind, quiet but insistent, reinforced by archival evidence and deftly drawn parallels. ( Howard W. French, The New York Times)

An impressive, up-to-date diplomatic history of the US that masterfully employs traditional, revisionnist, and in many instances synthetic interpretations in a story line from Colonial America to the second Bush administration.... This will be an award-winning book that becomes the standard text for US diplomatic history. A superb accomplishment. Essential. ( C.W. Haury, CHOICE)

The only volume in the series that spans the entirety of the American past, From Colony to Superpower could not be more timely, more colorful, or more compelling for Americans seeking to understand the causes and the consequences of the quagmires in Afghanistan and Iraq. Herring is well equipped to provide that analysis. ( The Chronicle of Higher Education)

In this splendidly detailed account, George Herring expertly guides us through the rich and fascinating story of America's foreign relations. This is history on a grand scale, clearly and elegantly rendered. Anyone who wants to understand how the United States has come to occupy its current place on the world stage should read this magisterial book. ( Fredrik Logevall, co-author of A People and a Nation)

About the Author:

George C. Herring is Alumni Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Kentucky. A leading authority on U.S. foreign relations, he is the former editor of Diplomatic History and a past president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. He is the author of America's Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975 and LBJ and Vietnam: A Different Kind of War, among other books.

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