This is an explication of a notion most citizens think they already know and believe they understand intuitively. This was my feeling as, in the course of browsing I examined the only book by Christopher Hitchens on my local library shelf. I was frankly disappointed, looking to this author for controversy and insight. Or should I say outrageousness? As in the case of his well reasoned but totally pointless indictment of Henry Kissinger for war crimes. Anyway, finding the topic uninspiring and disinclined to go to the bother to check it out, but having the time, I read the first 2 chapters and was genuinely astonished to find the book truly engaging! Now that I've finished it, and although I'm unsure if I agree with the author that the direction of the circumstances of the relationship between the 2 countries were NOT inevitable, I think knowing the subject in detail is most worthwhile. The author thinks there were occasions when we were free of the Old World notions of class and the imperial style of politics they engender, and in the position to resist these notions. And that we'd be better for it if we had. It seems to me conventional thinking labels this attitude isolationism and inevitably resists it as parochial. But the idea that we should be (or should have been) strict in defining Americanism ourselves, and resist Old World insinuations as to the course it should follow is, indeed, insightful. And the historic detail is truly enlightening. Altogether this IS a very interesting, if not startling, book.