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In this sweeping history, bestselling author Amy Chua explains how globally dominant empires—or hyperpowers—rise and why they fall. In a series of brilliant chapter-length studies, she examines the most powerful cultures in history—from the ancient empires of Persia and China to the recent global empires of England and the United States—and reveals the reasons behind their success, as well as the roots of their ultimate demise.
Chua's analysis uncovers a fascinating historical pattern: while policies of tolerance and assimilation toward conquered peoples are essential for an empire to succeed, the multicultural society that results introduces new tensions and instabilities, threatening to pull the empire apart from within. What this means for the United States' uncertain future is the subject of Chua's provocative and surprising conclusion.
"From ancient Achaemenid Persia to the modern United States, by way of Rome, Tang China and the Spanish, Dutch and British Empires, Amy Chua tells the story of the world's hyperpowers -- that elite of empires which, in their heyday, were truly without equal. Not everyone will be persuaded by her ingenious thesis that religious and racial tolerance was a prerequisite for global dominance, but also the slow solvent of that cultural 'glue' which holds a great nation together. But few readers will fail to be impressed by the height of this book's ambition and by the breadth of scholarship on which it is based." —Niall Ferguson, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History, Harvard University, and author of Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order
“Amy Chua smartly condenses the complex histories of the Persian, Mughal, Dutch, and other empires into an irresistible argument: that empires expand through toleration and contract through close-mindedness. As with any shrewd and elaborate argument, the getting there is half the fun.” —Robert D. Kaplan, Atlantic Monthly correspondent, visiting professor in national security at the U. S. Naval Academy, and author of Balkan Ghosts and Imperial Grunts
"Scintillating history, breathtaking in scope and chock-full of insight. Amy Chua argues persuasively that the real key to acquiring and maintaining great power lies in the ability to attract and assimilate, rather than to coerce or intimidate.” —Andrew J. Bacevich, author of The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War
“Amy Chua is a law professor, but in this book she writes as a sage historian. She draws lessons from the past that one who cares about the future cannot afford to ignore.” —Amitai Etzioni, author of Security First: For A Muscular, Moral Foreign Policy
“Clear-eyed and hard-headed. . . . Chua writes with a wry, breezy wit, giving her analysis a lively accessibility.”
—The Los Angeles Times
“Extraordinary. . . . An incredibly ambitious book, but Chua is up to the task.”
—Times Literary Supplement
“Convincing [and] timely. . . . Chua's lively writing makes her case studies interesting in themselves.”
—The Washington Post
“Takes up the challenge of 'Big History' [with] an almost Toynbeean sweep. . . . [Day of Empire] has a chance of becoming a classic.”
—Paul Kennedy, Foreign Affairs