College Quarterly
Fall 2003 - Volume 6 Number 1
Reviews Living in the American Empire

by Howard A. Doughty

A little more than a decade ago, Gore Vidal - arguably among the finest essayists in the tradition of patrician dissent that the United States has produced in our time–published a small collection of articles entitled The Decline and Fall of the American Empire. He was criticized on two counts. First, there were those who denied that the US was an imperialist power. Second, there were those who denied that the empire was in decline.

The brief presidency of George W. Bush seems to have dispelled any concern on the first count. Although publicly denying imperial ambitions, it is plain that in political policy, economic ambitions and military strategy, the US has assumed the role of a unilateralist planetary hyper-power. Whether or not its citizens have the will or the fiscal resources to see this global project through to its uncertain end remains in doubt but, for the time being, it is no less than prudent to learn what we can about American aims and capabilities as we get off to a stumbling start in this dubious new millennium.

To assist college teachers of such diverse subjects as international business and post-colonial studies, comparative religion and environmental science, we have brought together one book review and seven brief book notes that highlight just a few of the many new volumes that seek to make sense of international relations and their implications for post-cold war era. If the relevance of juxtaposing the United States with the concept of empire remains unclear, it should be noted that former Supreme Allied Commander and current presidential hopeful General Wesley K. Clark entitled his recent book on international affairs, Winning Modern Wars: Iraq, Terrorism and the American Empire. He should know.

Howard A. Doughty, Book Review Editor


• The views expressed by the authors are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of The College Quarterly or of Seneca College.
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2003 - The College Quarterly, Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology