...unless you define "America bashing" as any anthropological attempt to understand America as such. As the sayin goes: The truth may set you free, but first it'll piss you off. This book was required reading for a course I am taking on American Studies, and I fully enjoyed reading it. It presents something for people on both sides of the Atlantic. For Americans it gives them an insight into how others may view them, and for Europeans and other foreign nationalities it provides a window into what shaped the popular culture and attitudes of the US. For being a bridge of understanding I'm giving this book 5 stars.
That being said - it should be noted that both these eloquent authors have anthropological backgrounds, and as such tend to boil the question/title of the book down to anthropological answers. That may have worked if American were a democracy, and the populace shaped by this popular culture actually ruled. America is not, and Americans do not. As in Europe and the rest of the world, the US is a Representative Democracy, meaning the people hand over their will to an elect group every four years or so. This elect group (gov't) are the ones who make the foreign policy and carry out the decisions and action which are the prime reason Americans are "hated" by some. That this elect group also suffers from 'knowledgeable ignorance' (which the authors diagnose Americans with), this book has not managed to convince me. The premise that world sentiment 'against' the US has it's roots in prevalent public attitudes within the US, is the only short comming to this book, in my opinion. But regardless of whether it fully accomplishes to answer the title question, the anthropological studies within should be, as others have said, 'required reading'.