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America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism

by

America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism Cover

ISBN13: 9780195300055
ISBN10: 019530005x
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"America keeps a fine house," Anatol Lieven writes, "but in its cellar there lives a demon, whose name is nationalism."

In this controversial critique of America's role in the world, Lieven contends that U.S. foreign policy since 9/11 has been shaped by the special character of our national identity, which embraces two contradictory features. One, "The American Creed," is a civic nationalism which espouses liberty, democracy, and the rule of law. It is our greatest legacy to the world. But our almost religious belief in the "Creed" creates a tendency toward a dangerously "messianic" element in American nationalism, the desire to extend American values and American democracy to the whole world, irrespective of the needs and desires of others. The other feature, populist (or what is sometimes called "Jacksonian") nationalism, has its roots in an aggrieved, embittered, and defensive White America, centered largely in the American South. Where the "Creed" is optimistic and triumphalist, Jacksonian nationalism is fed by a profound pessimism and a sense of personal, social, religious, and sectional defeat. Lieven examines how these two antithetical impulses have played out in recent US policy, especially in the Middle East and in the nature of U.S. support for Israel. He suggests that in this region, the uneasy combination of policies based on two contradictory traditions have gravely undermined U.S. credibility and complicated the war against terrorism.

It has never been more vital that Americans understand our national character. This hard-hitting critique directs a spotlight on the American political soul and on the curious mixture of chauvinism and idealism that has driven the Bush administration.

Synopsis:

In this controversial critique of American political culture and its historical roots, Anatol Lieven contends that U.S. foreign policy since 9/11 has been shaped by the special character of our nationalism. Within that nationalism, Lieven analyses two very different traditions. One is the "American thesis," a civic nationalism based on the democratic values of what has been called the "American Creed." These values are held to be universal, and anyone can become an American by adopting them. The other tradition, the "American antithesis" is a populist and often chauvinist nationalism, which tends to see America as a closed national culture and civilization threatened by a hostile and barbarous outside world.

With America Right or Wrong, Lieven examines how these two antithetical impulses have played out in U.S. responses to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and in the nature of U.S. support for Israel. This hard-hitting critique directs a spotlight on the American political soul and on the curious mixture of chauvinism and idealism that has driven the Bush administration.

About the Author

Anatol Lieven is a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington, D.C. A journalist, writer, and historian, he is a Contributing Correspondent for the Washington Quarterly and has written for The Economist, Foreign Affairs, The National Interest, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic,

and other publications. He is the author of Chechnya: Tombstone of Russian Power and The Baltic Revolution: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Path to Independence, which was a New York Times Notable Book for 1993.

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Christopher, September 4, 2006 (view all comments by Christopher)
America Right or Wrong is one of the most enlightening analyses of the American character since Reinhold Neibuhr, Senator J. William Fulbright, and Richard Hofstadter. Lieven makes a careful distinction between patriotism and nationalism, and shows the contradictions of America's dualistic nature. If you read just the Introduction, you will have both a good idea of his thesis and be the better for it. Lieven's writing is extremely lucid and amusing.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780195300055
Subtitle:
An Anatomy of American Nationalism
Author:
Lieven, Anatol
Author:
null, Anatol
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Subject:
General
Subject:
History
Subject:
International
Subject:
International Relations
Subject:
Intervention (International law)
Subject:
Politics | Comparative Politics | Nationalism
Subject:
National characteristics, american
Subject:
Politics - General
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20051013
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
1 halftone, 35 line illus.
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
6 x 9.2 x 0.8 in 0.888 lb

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Related Subjects


History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Culture

America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism Used Trade Paper
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Product details 288 pages Oxford University Press - English 9780195300055 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In this controversial critique of American political culture and its historical roots, Anatol Lieven contends that U.S. foreign policy since 9/11 has been shaped by the special character of our nationalism. Within that nationalism, Lieven analyses two very different traditions. One is the "American thesis," a civic nationalism based on the democratic values of what has been called the "American Creed." These values are held to be universal, and anyone can become an American by adopting them. The other tradition, the "American antithesis" is a populist and often chauvinist nationalism, which tends to see America as a closed national culture and civilization threatened by a hostile and barbarous outside world.

With America Right or Wrong, Lieven examines how these two antithetical impulses have played out in U.S. responses to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and in the nature of U.S. support for Israel. This hard-hitting critique directs a spotlight on the American political soul and on the curious mixture of chauvinism and idealism that has driven the Bush administration.

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