In This Review

The Twenty-First Century Will Be American
The Twenty-First Century Will Be American
By Alfredo G. A. Valladao
Verso, 1996, 221 pp

Prophecies of the "Americanization of the World" -- the title of a 1902 book by W. T. Stead -- have been around, in one form or another, for much of the nation's history. This book, by a professor at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques and a former correspondent for Liberation, is the latest entry in the genre. Valladao traces the growth of a "World-America" centered on a powerful chief executive, binding the nations together in a network of security, economic, and cultural ties. The United States, because of its multifaceted power and multicultural heritage, is uniquely situated to be the moving force behind this "worldwide democratic empire." The passage from republic to empire is an old theme in American speculation over the nation's purpose and destiny, frequently rendered at home in the tones of a jeremiad, and one might expect a Brazilian living in Paris to treat "the great mutation" with a certain reserved skepticism. Not so. Valladao is optimistic about the ability of the empire, if properly managed, to win the consent of the peoples making up the "federation of free nations." Though sometimes quirky in its choice of illustrative materials and excessively imbued with the spirit of one-worldism, this imaginative and thought-provoking study is well worth attention.