In This Review In This Review
Lessons of Empire: Imperial Histories and American Power
Edited by Craig Calhoun, Frederick Cooper, and Kevin W. Moor
New Press, 2006, 352 pp.
Among Empires: American Ascendancy and Its Predecessors
By Charles S. Maier
Harvard University Press, 2006, 384 pp.
Do past empires hold lessons for U.S. foreign policy today? Many people evidently think so, as the recent flood of books and articles purporting to explain what those lessons are attests. These two latest examples of the genre come from authors with impeccable scholarly credentials. But like so much of this literature, their efforts yield little payoff.
The distinguished contributors whose writings are assembled by the Social Science Research Council (ssrc) in Lessons of Empire disagree on what an empire is, whether the United States is one, whether scholars have anything to say to policymakers, and even whether history
Source URL: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/reviews/empire-falls