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Most Americans believe the United States had been an isolationist power until the twentieth century. This is wrong. In a riveting and brilliantly revisionist work of history, Robert Kagan, bestselling author of Of Paradise and Power, shows how Americans have in fact steadily been increasing their global power and influence from the beginning. Driven by commercial, territorial, and idealistic ambitions, the United States has always perceived itself, and been seen by other nations, as an international force. This is a book of great importance to our understanding of our nation’s history and its role in the global community.
“Brilliant and original. . . . A tour de force of historical writing that should change the way many people view the country's past. . . a landmark.” —Foreign Affairs
“The most important reassessment of early United States foreign policy to appear in over half a century. Compellingly written and provocatively argued, it goes far toward explaining — to the world but also to ourselves — who we Americans are today, and where we may be going.” —John Lewis Gaddis, author of The Cold War
“A first-rate work of history, based on prodigious reading and enlivened by a powerful prose style. . . . Helps bring long-dead diplomatic history to life.”—The Economist
“Provocative and deeply absorbing. . . . [Kagan] shows how America was always a player, and often a ruthless one, in the great game of nations.”—The New York Times Book Review