American Empire: A Global History.

Author:Brock, Darryl E.
 
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Hopkins, A. G. American Empire: A Global History. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018, xviii + 980 pages. Hardcover, $39.95.

The September 11, 2001 attacks against the United States drew British economic historian A. G. Hopkins to examine Washington's response to the first strike against the nation's mainland since 1812. Considering the vast literature on US history, Hopkins concludes "the only possibility I had of making a contribution to the subject was by looking at it from the outside in, instead of from the inside out" (xv). Hopkins delivers by applying his decades of knowledge from three specific fields: 1) Globalization as the analytical framework; 2) Western imperial expansion as the globalizing impulse; and 3) Former colonial states regarding their reception and negotiation with the colonizer. The Emeritus Smuts Professor of Commonwealth History at the University of Cambridge, Hopkins views empires as agents of globalization. He thus argues that U.S. history ought to be interpreted beyond a national context; indeed, analysis within a global, imperial context "changes the questions asked of some of the central themes in the history of the United States" (p. 7).

Anchored in three key phases and crises of globalization over a three-century period--at the end of the eighteenth century, near the end of the nineteenth century, and during the mid-twentieth century--this work offers alternative readings of the term "empire." Comprehensive yet accessible, and well-illustrated with nineteen informative figures and maps, this authoritative work features nearly two-hundred pages of in-depth annotated notes. The carefully crafted chronological structure provides four parts with nested chapter titles supported by useful, thoughtfully paginated subheadings. A prologue and then an introductory chapter introduce the three crises of globalization undergirding Hopkins' organizing scheme, and further explore the relationships among globalization, empire, and periodization, particularly in Western Europe and the United States. Part I, "Decolonization and Dependence, 1756-1865," comprises three chapters analyzing the Seven Year's War, the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Union's triumph over the Confederacy, along with the intervening periods. Part II, "Modernity and Imperialism, 1865-1914," comprising four chapters, addresses imperial expansion, economic nationalism, social Darwinism, and an "unexceptional" insular empire connected...

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