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Of Paradise and Power

Of Paradise and Power

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Written by Robert KaganAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Robert Kagan

  • Format: Trade Paperback, 174 pages
  •  
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • On Sale: January 27, 2004
  • Price: $13.00
  • ISBN: 978-1-4000-3418-5 (1-4000-3418-3)
about this book

From a leading scholar of our country’s foreign policy, the brilliant essay about America and the world that has caused a storm in international circles now expanded into book form.

European leaders, increasingly disturbed by U.S. policy and actions abroad, feel they are headed for what the New York Times (July 21, 2002) describes as a “moment of truth.” After years of mutual resentment and tension, there is a sudden recognition that the real interests of America and its allies are diverging sharply and that the trans-atlantic relationship itself has changed, possibly irreversibly. Europe sees the United States as high-handed, unilateralist, and unnecessarily belligerent; the United States sees Europe as spent, unserious, and weak. The anger and mistrust on both sides are hardening into incomprehension.

This past summer, in Policy Review, Robert Kagan reached incisively into this impasse to force both sides to see themselves through the eyes of the other. Tracing the widely differing histories of Europe and America since the end of World War II, he makes clear how for one the need to escape a bloody past has led to a new set of transnational beliefs about power and threat, while the other has perforce evolved into the guarantor of that “postmodern paradise” by dint of its might and global reach. This remarkable analysis is being discussed from Washington to Paris to Tokyo.

“Come the hour, come the book . . . Kagan’s book is neither a diatribe nor a polemic. It is a penetrating effort to shed some light on the confusion in transatlantic affairs and to understand why Americans and Europeans are so frequently talking past each other . . . As an effort to crystallise an important moment in history and to provoke a fuller comprehension of contemporary international relations, Of Paradise and Power ranks with Frank Fukuyama’s The End of History and Sam Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations.” —Raymond Seitz, The Times (London)

“Kagan is an ideal position to dissect what is wrong in the United States-European relationship and why. He does so with a surgeon’s skill, stripping away layer after layer to reveal what in the end is a remarkable conclusion.” —The New York Times

“A compact and arresting book. . . . Highly readable. It is also a hard-hitting, unsentimental and yet liberal and humane manifesto.” —The Sunday Times (London)

“Lucid and elegant. . . . It is hard to imagine any future serious discussion of trans-Atlantic relations or America’s role in the world without reference to [Of Paradise and Power].” —The New York Times Book Review

“Kagan is one of America’s finest commentators on issues of foreign policy. He writes elegantly, has an excellent command of history and consistently demonstrates superior intelligence and insight. . . . This book could not have been more timely.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review

“I consider this one of those seminal treatises without which any discussion of European-American relations would be incomplete and which will shape that discussion for years to come.” —Dr. Henry Kissinger

“A book worthy of every thinking person on both sides of the Atlantic. It is hard to imagine so complex a subject being explained so clearly and so compellingly . . . A contribution unlikely to be equaled.” —Times Higher Education Supplement (London)

“For its brilliant juxtaposition of strategy and philosophy, of the realities of power and the ethics of power, of the American ideal of justice and the European ideal of peace, Robert Kagan's small book is a big book. Nothing like this has been written since the death of Raymond Aron.” —Leon Weiseltier

“Subtle and brilliant.” —The New Republic

Cogent and important best describe this slim book, its lack of vast pages belying the weightiness of its message. . . . Controversial arguments, certainly, but this book deserves to be read by all conscientious citizens.” —Booklist (starred review)

“[Has] the foreign policy establishment humming from Washington to Tokyo. . . . It is being called the new ‘X’ article.” —Washington Post

“A cogent new book. . . . Kagan is admirably even-handed. . . . [His] analysis is valuable and instructive.” —Detroit Free Press

“Kagan’s provocative and thoughtful essay is required reading for everyone concerned about the future of transatlantic relations. . . . Although not everyone will agree with Kagan’s analysis, readers will benefit from its clarity, insight and historical force.” —Senator John McCain

“A subtle and empathetic analysis. . . . Insightful.” —The Seattle Times

“‘Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus,’ writes Robert Kagan in the first paragraph of his new book. . . . That's probably the best one–liner any foreign policy intellectual has offered to explain perennial transatlantic disputes over the exercise of power in international relations. . . . Well–argued. . . .Truly insightful.” —New York Observer

“[Kagan writes with] skill, erudition, and reasoned argument.” —National Review

“Anyone looking for an intellectual primer to explain the geopolitical forces at work in the Iraqi conflict should order a copy of Robert Kagan’s Of Paradise And Power.” —Sunday Telegraph (London)

“This refreshing essay results from careful thought combined with critical information. Read it and you will think more deeply about this important arena.”—George P. Shultz, Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University

“Brilliant.” —Francis Fukuyama

“The democratic West has divided into two: realist America, putting its trust in physical power, and idealist Europe, trusting to intellectual authority and multilateralism. It is true that, as Mr. Kagan makes clear, American foreign policy retains a strong idealist element, but it is its muscular willingness to act with force, alone if it must, that Mr. Kagan defends here, and convincingly.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Kagan describes [the current climate] with dispassionate and deadly accuracy.”—The Washington Times

“Slender but brilliant.” —Business Week