Customer Reviews


30 Reviews
5 star:
 (14)
4 star:
 (11)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


110 of 117 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting book, with some ignorant reviews.
There have been some slightly disturbing comments left about this book, both in terms of failing to understand the underlying messages of the book, and in terms of individuals using the platform of leaving a review to impose their (frankly confused) ideas, safe in the knowledge that nobody can answer back directly. In particular the ramblings of the American reader from...
Published on 6 Sept. 2004 by Considered 1980

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Colossus light
I read the author's book the Ascent of Money some years ago and as a former stockbroker I enjoyed it and would thoroughly recommend it. Unfortunately I can not say the same for Colossus. The authors arguments are negated by his obvious right wing bias (his supporting arguments for the invasion of Iraq,even after no weapons of mass destruction were found, are particularly...
Published 10 months ago by H. Rogers


Most Helpful First | Newest First

21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The price before the fall, 29 Jun. 2005
By 
Mr. Robert Kelly "robert_kelly" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire (Paperback)
Colossus, Ferguson's natural successor to his best selling history of British imperialism 'Empire,' is a must read for anyone interested not only in how America came to dominate the world scene, but in how the world has developed since America became the world's number one power after WW2.
Ferguson's central contention is that America has long been an empire in denial, one that avoids ostensive control of the countries that it dominated. America as a nation and an empire is in relative terms far more powerful than any other hegemon in recent world history. This makes it even more disappointing that in retrospect it appears to have achieved so little.
Whereas previous empires brought stability, the rule of law and investment to the areas that they control, the period of American dominance has been characterised by declining living standards, growing corruption and degradation of human rights over much of the developing world.
This has not been caused by any malicious intent on the part of the US, quite the contary, but by lost opportunities and an unwillingness to get involved. America and it's electorate are wary of foreign entanglements, and particularly dislike being viewed as operating in an imperial manner.
Since world war two, capital flows have become concentrated almost exclusively within the developed world marketplace, with many developing countries now just seen as sources for primary products. This has meant increasing marginalisation for many from the world economy, and a poorer life for many of its inhabitants.
America seems to have dodged the 'Spiderman' maxim, 'with great power comes great responsibilty,' by being powerful, but not particularly responsible. Ferguson's conclusions are particularly bleak, firstly that even a disinterested dominant state such as the US is better than none at all, but that America's own emerging fiscal nightmare will inevitably massively reduce its ability to project power. Those that think this is a good thing should read this book, and take heed of what's said
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting way of looking at things, 21 April 2008
By 
J. Duducu (Ruislip) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire (Paperback)
Although not quite as good as Empire, Niall Ferguson again takes a chunk of history you thought you knew and starts to look at things from a rather different point of view.

With Colossus we get to think about America as another form of empire with a global reach and while the initial response is one of revulsion he then starts to make us wonder if that's necessarily a bad thing.

I have to say that while this was juicy stuff in the early 2000's it really has dated remarkably quickly with everyone now counting the US out and the inexorable rise of China. I guess this proves another point- that nature abhors a vacuum. However I think calling time on the world's biggest economy does seem a little premature.

Niall Ferguson is a very talented historian but where it does start to come a bit undone is when he of course starts thinking about the future. Overall though this is another great intellectual work out from a highly readable historian.

If you liked this there's more historical debate and fun at @HistoryGems on Facebook and Twitter
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening, 9 Jun. 2004
It is a shame the previous reviewer couldn't be more specific about the supposed flaws in Niall Ferguson's book. I personally found it (and the accompanying TV programme) remarkably enlightening.
Of course it won't convince those for whom the US is nothing less than evil incarnate, but for my money the question of how it is the most powerful nation in history is unable to make that power felt where it counts is one requiring an answer.
Niall Fergason may not have given us the ONLY explanation, but at least it is AN explanation.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars Colossus light, 22 May 2014
By 
H. Rogers - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire (Paperback)
I read the author's book the Ascent of Money some years ago and as a former stockbroker I enjoyed it and would thoroughly recommend it. Unfortunately I can not say the same for Colossus. The authors arguments are negated by his obvious right wing bias (his supporting arguments for the invasion of Iraq,even after no weapons of mass destruction were found, are particularly weak). He is very selective with his statistics and his knowledge of Asia and China and Africa is questionable - Botswana was never a colony, it was a protectorate. A disappointing book that,unfortunately, would would make me regard any future publications from this author with some scepticism.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An insightful analysis of the disease, some dangerous prescriptions for the cure, 13 July 2009
By 
Mondoro (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire (Paperback)
In this assessment of America's relations with the outside world, Ferguson writes with his customary fluency,turns of phrase, and skill in drawing historical and other parallels. He is critical of the factors which he believes act as a brake on would-be American 'liberal imperialism': the short-termism implicit in its regime change initiatives, notably Iraq; the reluctance of the military to be involved in less glamorous peace-keeping roles; and the domestic pressures on US politicians exerted by a political process which at any stage is never far away from an election campaign. Much of what Ferguson concludes here is no doubt correct, though his assumptions about Iraq have surely been queried by the continuing presence of US forces there since the book was published.

The problem comes when one considers some of the solutions he implies as policies previous administrations might have adopted to resolve problems. Here, we move into a field Ferguson explored in an earlier book, the 'what if' of history. What if MacArthur had prevailed in 1950-1, and atomic weapons were used against China? The Korean War would have been won by the US, instead of ending in an unsatisfactory draw. Later on, Ferguson returns to the current problem of a nuclear North Korea, airily suggesting that a pre-emptive strike against its installations 'might leave South Korea in ruins'. As one who grew up during the 1950s, I am afraid this kind of speculation makes my blood run cold.

Nor am I convinced by his advocacy of 'liberal imperialism' to resolve the problem of failed states, nor the use of the 'indefinite occupation' as a device to secure the best outcome. Any Western intervention into Africa without substantial African support will fail. And the 'indefinite occupation' example given, Britain's occupation of Egypt in 1882, ignores the bitter legacy it left, going up to the 1956 Suez Crisis. In short, imperialism, however well-meaning, has no place in a world order that is attempting to move towards a greater and wider democracy.

Also,I am also concerned that Ferguson exceeds his brief as a historian, and makes predictions. Historians are no better than anyone else in the field of crystal-ball gazing, and have no innate ability to tell the future. To sum up, 'Colossus' is well-written, and makes many pertinent observations, but its basic premise, however benign this may seem, is deeply suspect. So, one star for its readability, one star for its analysis, only.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile read to understand USA foreign policy failures., 7 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Understanding US politics tests even the more erudite. Ferguson skillfully unravels its historical sinews in domestic and foreign affairs. By comparing the empires of Europe and the UK to the US, he shows how the latter has sowed the seeds of failure by short term solutions to long term foreign affairs. It explains the failures in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. A good read for students of US politics and world affairs.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read, 13 Jan. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a very well written book thought provoking and stimulating. After reading this book I have purchased three others by the same author. Niall Ferguson's wit, style and fluency has me well and truly on board.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Undoubtedly worth five stars, for goodness sake, 10 Nov. 2006
By 
S. Gibbs "Steve Gibbs" (Carlisle, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire (Paperback)
The critics of this title miss Ferguson's point. He's floating a construct about the US's position in the world as a de facto empire and attempts to keep it above water. His writing on the 'hypocrisy' of empire is applied well to the US's uncomfortable and undefined position in the world. His economic evidence is exemplary.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 12 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have only read a few pages but again beautifully written and structured
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 24 Feb. 2015
Great Book, and very helpful for my history project!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire
Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire by Niall Ferguson (Paperback - 26 Mar. 2009)
£8.79
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews