What we're about

This is a club for people who enjoy discussing books on history, philosophy and politics. We prefer titles that are more readable and less academic.

  • Please have your video camera 'On' for online meetings.

Upcoming events (2)

Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order - Ferguson - Conclusion

  • Please have your video camera 'On' for the meeting.

A bestselling historian shows how the British Empire created the modern world, in a book lauded as "a rattling good tale" (Wall Street Journal) and "popular history at its best" (Washington Post)

The British Empire was the largest in all history: the nearest thing to global domination ever achieved. The world we know today is in large measure the product of Britain's Age of Empire. The global spread of capitalism, telecommunications, the English language, and institutions of representative government -- all these can be traced back to the extraordinary expansion of Britain's economy, population and culture from the seventeenth century until the mid-twentieth. On a vast and vividly colored canvas, Empire shows how the British Empire acted as midwife to modernity.

Displaying the originality and rigor that have made Niall Ferguson one of the world's foremost historians, Empire is a dazzling tour de force -- a remarkable reappraisal of the prizes and pitfalls of global empire.

Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire, Niall Ferguson - Ch. 1

We've just finished Empire, Ferguson's previous book to this and I absolutely loved it. It hence made sense to move forward from the British to the American empire, and examine what kind of empire the latter is.
Al
---

Is America an empire? Certainly not, according to our government. Despite the conquest of two sovereign states in as many years, despite the presence of more than 750 military installations in two thirds of the world’s countries and despite his stated intention "to extend the benefits of freedom...to every corner of the world," George W. Bush maintains that "America has never been an empire." "We don’t seek empires," insists Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. "We’re not imperialistic."
Nonsense, says Niall Ferguson. In Colossus he argues that in both military and economic terms America is nothing less than the most powerful empire the world has ever seen. Just like the British Empire a century ago, the United States aspires to globalize free markets, the rule of law, and representative government. In theory it’s a good project, says Ferguson. Yet Americans shy away from the long-term commitments of manpower and money that are indispensable if rogue regimes and failed states really are to be changed for the better. Ours, he argues, is an empire with an attention deficit disorder, imposing ever more unrealistic timescales on its overseas interventions. Worse, it’s an empire in denial—a hyperpower that simply refuses to admit the scale of its global responsibilities. And the negative consequences will be felt at home as well as abroad. In an alarmingly persuasive final chapter Ferguson warns that this chronic myopia also applies to our domestic responsibilities. When overstretch comes, he warns, it will come from within—and it will reveal that more than just the feet of the American colossus is made of clay.

Past events (78)

Genghiz Khan, The Mongols and China's Yuan Dynasty - Part 1

This event has passed

Photos (62)