Will the 21st century be the next American Century? Will American ideas and power dominate the globe in the coming years? Or is the prestige of the United States likely to crumble beneath the pressure of new international challenges? This ground-breaking book explores the changing patterns of American thought and culture at the dawn of the new millennium, when the world's richest nation has never been more powerful or more controversial. It brings together some of the most eminent North American and European thinkers to investigate the crucial issues facing the United States during the early years of our new century.From the hidden political shifts beneath the electoral landscape to the latest biomedical advances, from the literary response to 9/11 to the rise of reality television, this book explores the political, social and cultural contours of contemporary American life - but it also places the United States within a global narrative of commerce, ideological conflict and international diplomacy. These eighteen new essays address such pressing issues as leadership, foreign policy, propaganda, religion, health, technology, digital media and 9/11 culture. The authors look back to the Clinton years and earlier periods of 20th-century American life, but they also look forward to the new horizons of the century to come - to the unknown challenges of a global future and to the soaring possibilities of American enterprise and imagination.