MICHIKO KAKUTANI in the NY Times:
- Mr. Ferguson pointedly adds, however, that it is the United States, not Britain, that is “capable of playing an imperial role” in the world today. He notes that America’s own history – freeing itself from the British Empire – has made it wary of “formal rule over subject peoples” but exhorts it to face up to its imperial duties; he calls the United States “an empire in denial,” an empire “that dare not speak its name.”
- But if Americans want to be convinced of the benefits of empire, as well as apprised of its costs, they need merely pick up Ferguson’s dazzling book. It’s all here, in compulsively readable prose that sparkles with bon mots, accompanied by handsome maps and illustrations. As American forces prepare to occupy Iraq, this is an apt time to ponder imperial burdens in historical perspective, and there is no better way to do so than to read “Empire.”
- PWD: Can global empire be avoided?
NF: I don’t think it’ll be possible for an even partial isolation. Globalization transforms economic and political life, too, but it is a choice, and America is ambivalent to global power. 9/11 brought that to the forefront of public consciousness. Politicians are downright hostile to empire and it’s very hard for Americans to accept that they are now an empire. America is essentially introverted: a huge country, where exports are less important to the U.S. Its default setting is for Americans to focus on domestic issues.
Interview on Book TV Saturday, May 10 at 11:00 pm and Sunday, May 11 at 8:00 pm
- For a Brit living and working in the United States, the moment is one to be savored for two reasons. The war in Iraq is being won by the United States in partnership with Britain. And it’s now possible to ask a previously taboo question: Is the United States in the process of re-inventing the British Empire – and doing it in partnership with the United Kingdom?
Let me be frank: I hope so.