While there have been many analyses of American imperialism, few have equalled the breadth or insight of this seminal text, one of the first to provide a historical perspective on the origins of the American empire. Victor Kiernan, one of the world's most respected historians, employs a nuanced knowledge of history, literature, and politics in tracing the evolution of American power.
Far reaching and ambitious in scope, the book combines accounts of the changing relationship between Native Americans and the white population with readings of the works of key cultural figures, such as Melville and Whitman, as well as an analysis of the way in which money and politics became so closely intertwined in American democracy.
Also included is a preface by Eric Hobsbawm providing insight into his own views on American imperialism as well as a valuable introduction to Victor Kiernan's work. Together, they shed useful light on such issues as the uses and misuses of American military might, its lack of respect for international agreements, and the right to pre-emptive defence – issues which remain just as urgent today.