Catalogue


America right or wrong : an anatomy of American nationalism /
Anatol Lieven.
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 2004.
description
xii, 274 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0195168402 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 2004.
isbn
0195168402 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
An exceptional nationalism? -- Thesis : splendor and tragedy of the American creed -- Antithesis part I : the embittered heartland -- Antithesis part II : fundamentalists and great fears -- The legacy of the Cold War -- American nationalism, Israel, and the Middle East.
catalogue key
5258426
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 223-268) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2004-10-18:
In this provocative and scholarly work, Lieven, senior associate at Washington's Carnegie Endowment, argues that normative American patriotism-an optimistic "civic creed" rooted in respect for America's institutions, individual freedoms and constitutional law-contains a monster in the basement: a jingoistic, militaristic, Jacksonian nationalism that sees America as the bearer of a messianic mission to lead a Manichean struggle against the savages. Since 9/11, the Bush administration and its Christian-fundamentalist "base" have invoked the nationalist tradition in waging the struggle against the "evil-doers." The result, Lieven argues, has been catastrophic for the war on terror. Rather than rally to America as the beacon of liberty, other nations (particular European and Muslim ones) feel repelled and threatened by the cavalier and unilateral superpower. Lieven's provocative final chapter argues that much of U.S. support for Israel is rooted not in the "civic creed" (e.g., support for a fellow liberal democracy) but in a nationalism that sees the Israelis as heroic cowboys and the Palestinians as savages who must be driven from their land, as Jackson did the Cherokees. Throughout, Lieven takes to task the American liberal intelligentsia for abandoning universalist principles in favor of ethnic chauvinism and nationalist fervor. Cogently argued, this is an important contribution to the discourse on national identity, the war on terror and the nature of political liberalism. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A fascinating and incisive analysis of American nationalism."--London Review of Books
"A fascinating and incisive analysis of American nationalism."--LondonReview of Books
"America Right or Wrong shows a serious intellectual talent and ambition stretching its wings. In particular, Lieven takes on some of the big questions about American identity, ideology and exceptionalism in ways that yield surprising and provocative results.... At its admirable best AmericaRight or Wrong asks important questions and makes readers review some of their own most cherished convictions."--Walter Russell Mead, Washington Post Book World
"America Right or Wrong shows a serious intellectual talent and ambitionstretching its wings. In particular, Lieven takes on some of the big questionsabout American identity, ideology and exceptionalism in ways that yieldsurprising and provocative results.... At its admirable best America Right orWrong asks important questions and makes readers review some of their own mostcherished convictions."--Walter Russell Mead, Washington Post Book World
"Anatol Lieven is one of the most thought provoking and insightful writers in Washington. This book is very much in the same tradition."--Senator Dick Clark, Director of The Congressional Program, The Aspen Institute
"Anatol Lieven is one of the most thought provoking and insightful writersin Washington. This book is very much in the same tradition."--Senator DickClark, Director of The Congressional Program, The Aspen Institute
"Anatol Lieven is one of today's most insightful observers of U.S. foreign policy. In this exceptional book he provides an analysis of the virtues and the dangers of American nationalism that is as provocative as it is perceptive." --Michael Lind, author of The Next American Nation
"Anatol Lieven is one of today's most insightful observers of U.S. foreignpolicy. In this exceptional book he provides an analysis of the virtues and thedangers of American nationalism that is as provocative as it is perceptive."--Michael Lind, author of The Next American Nation
"A searching examination of the deep-seated sources of American behavior,Anatol Lieven's America Right or Wrong takes on what others evade--the topicsthat, whether for good or ill, make us who we are and provide the engine of U.S. foreign policy. In pungent, muscular prose, Lieven makes a strong case thatthe neoconservatives have gotten far too much credit for the course of Americanpolicy since 9/11. His chapter on the mutually destructive course of U.S.-Israelrelations is not only courageous but powerfully illuminating."--Andrew J.Bacevich, author of the forthcoming The New American Militarism
"A searching examination of the deep-seated sources of American behavior, Anatol Lieven's America Right or Wrong takes on what others evade--the topics that, whether for good or ill, make us who we are and provide the engine of U. S. foreign policy. In pungent, muscular prose, Lieven makes astrong case that the neoconservatives have gotten far too much credit for the course of American policy since 9/11. His chapter on the mutually destructive course of U.S.-Israel relations is not only courageous but powerfully illuminating."--Andrew J. Bacevich, author of The New AmericanMilitarism
"Cogently argued...an important contribution to the discourse on national identity, the war on terror and the nature of political liberalism."--Publishers Weekly
"Cogently argued...an important contribution to the discourse on nationalidentity, the war on terror and the nature of political liberalism."--PublishersWeekly
"Lieven is relentlessly candid, and has produced a remarkably thought-provoking book.... Tightly written and extensively researched.... A valuable and also a troubling book on a subject that is both crucial and in many ways extremely sensitive."--Brian Urquhart, New York Review of Books
"Lieven is relentlessly candid, and has produced a remarkablythought-provoking book.... Tightly written and extensively researched.... Avaluable and also a troubling book on a subject that is both crucial and in manyways extremely sensitive."--Brian Urquhart, New York Review of Books
"Lieven is relentlessly candid, and has produced a remarkably thought-provoking book.... Tightly written and extensively researched.... A valuable and also a troubling book on a subject that is both crucial and in many ways extremely sensitive."--Brian Urquhart, New York Review of Books "A fascinating and incisive analysis of American nationalism."--London Review of Books "Cogently argued...an important contribution to the discourse on national identity, the war on terror and the nature of political liberalism."--Publishers Weekly "America Right or Wrong shows a serious intellectual talent and ambition stretching its wings. In particular, Lieven takes on some of the big questions about American identity, ideology and exceptionalism in ways that yield surprising and provocative results.... At its admirable best America Right or Wrong asks important questions and makes readers review some of their own most cherished convictions."--Walter Russell Mead, Washington Post Book World "Some of the most trenchant and original criticism of the trajectory of U.S. foreign and military policy that has surfaced since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March, 2003."--Inter Press Service "Skillfully unravels the origins of American nationalism and illuminates its failings and virtues."--Foreword Magazine "This fighting book digs beneath the trauma of 9-11 to uncover the cultural sources of popular support for a blindly aggressive and self-defeating foreign policy. Dazzling and inspiring."--Stephen Holmes, Professor of Politics and Law, New York University School of Law "A searching examination of the deep-seated sources of American behavior, Anatol Lieven's America Right or Wrong takes on what others evade--the topics that, whether for good or ill, make us who we are and provide the engine of U. S. foreign policy. In pungent, muscular prose, Lieven makes a strong case that the neoconservatives have gotten far too much credit for the course of American policy since 9/11. His chapter on the mutually destructive course of U.S.-Israel relations is not only courageous but powerfully illuminating."--Andrew J. Bacevich, author of The New American Militarism "Anatol Lieven is one of today's most insightful observers of U.S. foreign policy. In this exceptional book he provides an analysis of the virtues and the dangers of American nationalism that is as provocative as it is perceptive." --Michael Lind, author of The Next American Nation "Anatol Lieven is one of the most thought provoking and insightful writers in Washington. This book is very much in the same tradition."--Senator Dick Clark, Director of The Congressional Program, The Aspen Institute
"Lieven is relentlessly candid, and has produced a remarkably thought-provoking book.... Tightly written and extensively researched.... A valuable and also a troubling book on a subject that is both crucial and in many ways extremely sensitive."--Brian Urquhart, New York Review of Books "A fascinating and incisive analysis of American nationalism."-- London Review of Books "Cogently argued...an important contribution to the discourse on national identity, the war on terror and the nature of political liberalism."-- Publishers Weekly " America Right or Wrong shows a serious intellectual talent and ambition stretching its wings. In particular, Lieven takes on some of the big questions about American identity, ideology and exceptionalism in ways that yield surprising and provocative results.... At its admirable best America Right or Wrong asks important questions and makes readers review some of their own most cherished convictions."--Walter Russell Mead, Washington Post Book World "Some of the most trenchant and original criticism of the trajectory of U.S. foreign and military policy that has surfaced since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March, 2003."-- Inter Press Service "Skillfully unravels the origins of American nationalism and illuminates its failings and virtues."-- Foreword Magazine "This fighting book digs beneath the trauma of 9-11 to uncover the cultural sources of popular support for a blindly aggressive and self-defeating foreign policy. Dazzling and inspiring."--Stephen Holmes, Professor of Politics and Law, New York University School of Law "A searching examination of the deep-seated sources of American behavior, Anatol Lieven's America Right or Wrong takes on what others evade--the topics that, whether for good or ill, make us who we are and provide the engine of U. S. foreign policy. In pungent, muscular prose, Lieven makes a strong case that the neoconservatives have gotten far too much credit for the course of American policy since 9/11. His chapter on the mutually destructive course of U.S.-Israel relations is not only courageous but powerfully illuminating."--Andrew J. Bacevich, author of The New American Militarism "Anatol Lieven is one of today's most insightful observers of U.S. foreign policy. In this exceptional book he provides an analysis of the virtues and the dangers of American nationalism that is as provocative as it is perceptive." --Michael Lind, author of The Next American Nation "Anatol Lieven is one of the most thought provoking and insightful writers in Washington. This book is very much in the same tradition."--Senator Dick Clark, Director of The Congressional Program, The Aspen Institute
"Lieven is relentlessly candid, and has produced a remarkably thought-provoking book.... Tightly written and extensively researched.... A valuable and also a troubling book on a subject that is both crucial and in many ways extremely sensitive."--Brian Urquhart,New York Review of Books "A fascinating and incisive analysis of American nationalism."--London Review of Books "Cogently argued...an important contribution to the discourse on national identity, the war on terror and the nature of political liberalism."--Publishers Weekly "America Right or Wrongshows a serious intellectual talent and ambition stretching its wings. In particular, Lieven takes on some of the big questions about American identity, ideology and exceptionalism in ways that yield surprising and provocative results.... At its admirable bestAmerica Rightor Wrongasks important questions and makes readers review some of their own most cherished convictions."--Walter Russell Mead,Washington Post Book World "Some of the most trenchant and original criticism of the trajectory of U.S. foreign and military policy that has surfaced since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March, 2003."--Inter Press Service "Skillfully unravels the origins of American nationalism and illuminates its failings and virtues."--Foreword Magazine "This fighting book digs beneath the trauma of 9-11 to uncover the cultural sources of popular support for a blindly aggressive and self-defeating foreign policy. Dazzling and inspiring."--Stephen Holmes, Professor of Politics and Law, New York University School of Law "A searching examination of the deep-seated sources of American behavior, Anatol Lieven'sAmerica Right or Wrongtakes on what others evade--the topics that, whether for good or ill, make us who we are and provide the engine of U. S. foreign policy. In pungent, muscular prose, Lieven makes a strong case that the neoconservatives have gotten far too much credit for the course of American policy since 9/11. His chapter on the mutually destructive course of U.S.-Israel relations is not only courageous but powerfully illuminating."--Andrew J. Bacevich, author ofThe New American Militarism "Anatol Lieven is one of today's most insightful observers of U.S. foreign policy. In this exceptional book he provides an analysis of the virtues and the dangers of American nationalism that is as provocative as it is perceptive." --Michael Lind, author ofThe Next American Nation "Anatol Lieven is one of the most thought provoking and insightful writers in Washington. This book is very much in the same tradition."--Senator Dick Clark, Director of The Congressional Program, The Aspen Institute
"Skillfully unravels the origins of American nationalism and illuminates its failings and virtues."--Foreword Magazine
"Some of the most trenchant and original criticism of the trajectory of U.S. foreign and military policy that has surfaced since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March, 2003."--Inter Press Service
"Some of the most trenchant and original criticism of the trajectory ofU.S. foreign and military policy that has surfaced since the U.S. invasion ofIraq in March, 2003."--Inter Press Service
"This fighting book digs beneath the trauma of 9-11 to uncover the cultural sources of popular support for a blindly aggressive and self-defeating foreign policy. Dazzling and inspiring."--Stephen Holmes, Professor of Politics and Law, New York University School of Law
"This fighting book digs beneath the trauma of 9-11 to uncover thecultural sources of popular support for a blindly aggressive and self-defeatingforeign policy. Dazzling and inspiring."--Stephen Holmes, Professor of Politicsand Law, New York University School of Law
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, October 2004
Guardian UK, November 2004
Washington Post, November 2004
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Long Description
"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.
Main Description
"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 espousesliberty, 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 suggeststhat 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.
Unpaid Annotation
This powerful critique of American foreign policy directs a spotlight on the American political soul and on the curious mixture of chauvinism and idealism that has driven the Bush administration.
Table of Contents
An exceptional nationalism?p. 19
Thesis : splendor and tragedy of the American creedp. 48
Antithesis part I : the embittered heartlandp. 88
Antithesis part II : fundamentalists and great fearsp. 123
The legacy of the Cold Warp. 150
American nationalism, Israel and the Middle Eastp. 173
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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