´´For years,´´ William Pfaff writes, ´´there has been little or no critical reexamination of how and why the successful postwar American policy of patient but firm containment of Soviet expansionist tendencies…has over decades turned into a vast project for ending tyranny in the world. We defend this position by making the claim that the United States possesses an exceptional status among nations that confers upon it special international responsibilities, and exceptional privileges in meeting those responsibilities. This is where the problem lies. It has become somewhat of a national heresy to suggest the U .S. does not have a unique moral status and role to play in the history of nations and therefore in the affairs of the contemporary world. In fact it does not.´´ Cogently, thoughtfully, powerfully, Pfaff lays out the historical roots behind the American exceptionalism that animates our politics and foreign relations - and makes clear why it is flawed and must ultimately fail. Those roots lie in the secularization of western society brought about by the Enlightenment, and in America´s effective separation from the common history of the west during the 19th and early parts of the 20th century, during which it failed to gain ´´the indispensable experience Europeans have acquired of modern ideological folly and national tragedy.´´ We are, thus, hubristic and naïve in our adventurism, and blind to the truth of the threats we face. No mere critic, Pfaff offers insightful observations on how we can and must adapt to Muslim extremism, nuclear competition, and other challenges of our time. 1. Language: English. Narrator: David Waldman. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/adbl/009659/bk_adbl_009659_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Addressing issues of continuing if not heightened relevance to contemporary debate, America at the Brink of Empire explores the foreign policy leadership of Dean Rusk and Henry Kissinger regarding the extent of the United States´ mission to insure a stable world order. Lawrence W. Serewicz argues that in the Vietnam conflict the United States experienced an identity crisis - a near Machiavellian moment - whereby America came close to assuming an imperial role, stretching the country to the limits of its identity as a republic. Serewicz offers a revealing look at the parts played by Rusk and Kissinger - and President Lyndon Johnson - in bringing the nation to the brink of empire in the years 1963-75. As a true believer in liberal internationalism, Rusk set the stage by defining the war in Vietnam as a threat to the world order based on the United Nations security system created after World War II. Johnson kept an open-ended commitment in Vietnam without a clear goal in sight even as he pursued the ambitious domestic reforms of the Great Society. In refusing to choose between either an imperial mission or a true republican position for the nation, he brought it perilously close to becoming an empire, ultimately failing to achieve his goals either at home or abroad. Kissinger corrected for Johnson´s overreach, implementing a pragmatic realism based upon the principle that the United States is an ordinary country - a republic, not an empire - within the international community and therefore must balance its commitments with its resources. In concluding, Serewicz reflects on the continuing relevance of the Machiavellian moment for the United States by observing the differences and similarities between the presidencies of Johnson and George W. Bush. The book is published by Louisiana State University Press. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Randal Schaffer. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/096352/bk_acx0_096352_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
How George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and John Adams navigated the nation through four major crises and caused the first stirrings of American nationalism. Americans like to believe that the Constitution miraculously brought the United States into being, as though the framers established, in one stroke, the nation we know today. Yet when George Washington delivered his First Inaugural Address on April 30, 1789, he expressed worry about the challenges that lay ahead. He was right to be concerned: The existence of the new nation was anything but secure. Without the support of the American people, after all, the Constitution was only a piece of paper. In A Sovereign People, her brilliant new political history of the 1790s, the acclaimed historian Carol Berkin argues that the young nation would not have survived absent the interventions of the Federalists, above all Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and John Adams. In power throughout the decade, they faced four successive crises of sovereignty. The Whiskey Rebellion was a domestic revolt over the right of the federal government to levy taxes. The Genet Affair saw a reckless French diplomat appeal directly to the American people, in opposition to Washington. The XYZ Affair involved foreign threats intended to draw the United States into a European war. The final crisis was self-inflicted, the result of the Federalists´ desire to silence their critics in the press, in the form of the Alien and Sedition Acts. In each instance the Federalists demonstrated the necessity of the federal government established by the Constitution, and by decade´s end the American people understood that without an ´´energetic government´´, there could be no United States. As Berkin ultimately reveals, while the Revolution freed the states and the Constitution linked them as never before, it was the Federalists who transformed them into an enduring nation. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Betsy Foldes Meiman. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/hach/003230/bk_hach_003230_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Debates about U.S. foreign policy have revolved around three main traditions - liberal internationalism, realism, and nationalism. In this audiobook, distinguished political scientist, Henry Nau, delves deeply into a fourth, overlooked foreign policy tradition that he calls ´´conservative internationalism.´´ This approach spreads freedom, like liberal internationalism; arms diplomacy, like realism; and preserves national sovereignty, like nationalism. It targets a world of limited government or independent ´´sister republics,´´ not a world of great power concerts or centralized international institutions. Nau explores conservative internationalism in the foreign policies of Thomas Jefferson, James Polk, Harry Truman, and Ronald Reagan. These presidents did more than any others to expand the arc of freedom using a deft combination of force, diplomacy, and compromise. Since Reagan, presidents have swung back and forth among the main traditions, overreaching under Bush and now retrenching under Obama. Nau demonstrates that conservative internationalism offers an alternative way. It pursues freedom but not everywhere, prioritizing situations that border on existing free countries - Turkey, for example, rather than Iraq. It uses lesser force early to influence negotiations rather than greater force later, after negotiations fail. And it reaches timely compromises to cash in military leverage and sustain public support. A groundbreaking revival of a neglected foreign policy tradition, Conservative Internationalism shows how the United States can effectively sustain global leadership while respecting the constraints of public will and material resources. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Jones Allen. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/adbl/015338/bk_adbl_015338_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Even as the young United States successfully secured its independence, the new nation was beset by problems. The drafters of the Articles of Confederation had deliberately avoided giving the national legislature the power to tax, because Parliament had so abused that authority against the colonies, but this proved to be a severe limitation on the national government. Besides hampering the Continental Army, the inability of the national government to raise revenue made foreign policy difficult. Under the Articles of Confederation, the Congress was also completely unable to pay any of the debts it incurred to foreign powers during the Revolutionary War. Though allied powers had lent to the American government on favorable terms and no repayment was expected until the end of hostilities, the hope of ever paying national debts without a national government that could tax was slim. In particular, the prospect of the new nation defaulting on its loans from France led to the end of the Articles of Confederation. To top it all off, the Articles of Confederation also had no judiciary or executive branch. Therefore, laws passed by the Congress could not be enforced by the national government: the enforcement of laws was left to the mercy of the states. Likewise, there was no national judiciary to decide disputes over national law. Fueled at least in part by the weakness of the federal government to respond to military threats, the young country quickly faced a problem in the form of a rebellion led in New England by former Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Shays. On December 27, 1786, Samuel Lyman of Massachusetts wrote to his friend and confidant, Samuel Breck, ´´[N]ot only this Commonwealth but the union at large are in the most confused and confounded condition; we do not yet feel that sameness or unity of interest which is the only cement of any nation, and which is absolutely necessary to be felt in order to make us respectable and important; but this is not s... 1. Language: English. Narrator: Scott Clem. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/077532/bk_acx0_077532_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
In 1871, five young girls were sent by the Japanese government to the United States. Their mission: learn Western ways and return to help nurture a new generation of enlightened men to lead Japan. Raised in traditional samurai households during the turmoil of civil war, three of these unusual ambassadors - Sutematsu Yamakawa, Shige Nagai, and Ume Tsuda - grew up as typical American schoolgirls. Upon their arrival in San Francisco, they became celebrities, their travels and traditional clothing exclaimed over by newspapers across the nation. As they learned English and Western customs, their American friends grew to love them for their high spirits and intellectual brilliance. The passionate relationships they formed reveal an intimate world of cross-cultural fascination and connection. Ten years later they returned to Japan - a land grown foreign to them - determined to revolutionize women´s education. Based on in-depth archival research in Japan and in the United States, including decades of letters from between the three women and their American host families, Daughters of the Samurai is beautifully, cinematically written, a fascinating lens through which to view an extraordinary historical moment. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Emily Zeller. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/adbl/024072/bk_adbl_024072_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
The history of United States coinage is a story that parallels the rise of America. Starting from a humble beginning in a basement in Philadelphia in the first few years of the country, it grew to a large highly sophisticated system that produces millions of coins per year. Due to a lack of silver, the first silver coins produced by the Mint came from silverware contributed by George and Martha Washington. Coins are something we take for granted today and put in jars and baskets on our night stands to accumulate for a rainy day when we need a few extra dollars. For more than half of the history of America, that wouldn´t have been possible for the average citizen. It wasn´t until after the Civil War that coinage became widely used for all types of transactions. Until that time, barter and money substitutes, such as tokens, script, and foreign coins, were used as a mediums of exchange. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Gregory Diehl. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/048836/bk_acx0_048836_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Among the pressing concerns of Americans in the first century of nationhood were day-to-day survival, political harmony, exploration of the continent, foreign policy, and - fixed deeply in the collective consciousness - hell and eternal damnation. The fear of fire and brimstone and the worm that never dies exerted a profound and lasting influence on Americans´ ideas about themselves, their neighbors, and the rest of the world. Kathryn Gin Lum poses a number of vital questions: Why did the fear of hell survive Enlightenment critiques in America after largely subsiding in Europe and elsewhere? What were the consequences for early and antebellum Americans of living with the fear of seeing themselves and many people they knew eternally damned? How did they live under the weighty obligation to save as many souls as possible? What about those who rejected this sense of obligation and fear? Gin Lum shows that beneath early Americans´ vaunted millennial optimism lurked a pervasive anxiety: that rather than being favored by God, they and their nation might be the object of divine wrath. As time-honored social hierarchies crumbled before revival fire, economic unease, and political chaos, ´´saved´´ and ´´damned´´ became as crucial distinctions as race, class, and gender. The threat of damnation became an impetus for or deterrent from all kinds of behaviors, from reading novels to owning slaves. Gin Lum tracks the idea of hell from the Revolution to Reconstruction. She considers the ideas of theological leaders like Jonathan Edwards and Charles Finney as well as those of ordinary women and men. She discusses the views of Native Americans, Americans of European and African descent, residents of Northern insane asylums and Southern plantations, New England´s clergy and missionaries overseas, and even proponents of Swedenborgianism and annihilationism. PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in you... 1. Language: English. Narrator: Suzanne Toren. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/adbl/021431/bk_adbl_021431_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Two great social causes held center stage in American politics in the 1960s: the civil rights movement and the antiwar groundswell in the face of a deepening American military commitment in Vietnam. In Peace and Freedom, Simon Hall explores two linked themes: the civil rights movement´s response to the war in Vietnam on the one hand and, on the other, the relationship between the black groups that opposed the war and the mainstream peace movement. Based on comprehensive archival research, the audiobook weaves together local and national stories to offer an illuminating and judicious chronicle of these movements, demonstrating how their increasingly radicalized components both found common cause and provoked mutual antipathies. Peace and Freedom shows how and why the civil rights movement responded to the war in differing ways - explaining black militants´ hostility toward the war while also providing a sympathetic treatment of those organizations and leaders reluctant to take a stand. And, while Black Power, counterculturalism, and left-wing factionalism all made interracial coalition-building more difficult, the audiobook argues that it was the peace movement´s reluctance to link the struggle to end the war with the fight against racism at home that ultimately prevented the two movements from cooperating more fully. Considering the historical relationship between the civil rights movement and foreign policy, Hall also offers an in-depth look at the history of black America´s links with the American left and with pacifism. With its keen insights into one of the most controversial decades in American history, Peace and Freedom recaptures the immediacy and importance of the time.The audiobook is published by University of Pennsylvania Press. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Mike Iykins. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/003565/bk_acx0_003565_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Why America Failed shows how, from its birth as a nation of ´´hustlers´´ to its collapse as an empire, the tools of the country´s expansion proved to be the instruments of its demise. This is the third and most engaging volume of Morris Berman´s trilogy on the decline of the American empire. In The Twilight of American Culture, Berman examined the internal factors of that decline, showing that they were identical to those of Rome in its late-empire phase. In Dark Ages America, he explored the external factors - e.g., the fact that both empires were ultimately attacked from the outside - and the relationship between the events of 9/11 and the history of U.S. foreign policy. In his most ambitious work to date, Berman looks at the ´´why´´ of it all. This book: Probes America´s commitment to economic liberalism and free enterprise, stretching back to the late 16th century, and shows how this ideology, along with that of technological progress, rendered any alternative marginal to American history Maintains, more than anything else, that this one-sided vision of the country´s purpose finally did our nation in Why America Failed is a controversial work, one that will shock, anger, and transform its listeners. The book is a stimulating and provocative explanation of how we managed to wind up in our current situation: economically weak, politically passe, socially divided, and culturally adrift. It is a tour de force, a powerful conclusion to Berman´s study of American imperial decline. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Mark Bramhall. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/adbl/004927/bk_adbl_004927_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.