Customer Review

109 of 116 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting book, with some ignorant reviews., 6 Sep 2004
This review is from: Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire (Hardcover)
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 Hove (suzannemaria) who appears unable to see the irony of many of her statements, and who inadvertently manages to support some of the FEW genuine criticisms of the American population found within this book. That she feels it necessary to crudely insult the British nation and its citizens, while still living in this country (for far too long apparently!?) not only shows an astonishing lack of intelligence and respect, but also suggests that she must surely be being held against her will.:) I for one hope that her British oppressors release her from her hellish captivity soon, so that she can return to her beloved country and perhaps find work in the paranoid, inward-facing American media which promotes such confused and misconceived ignorance.
As a Brit who knows America well, and who genuinely enjoys the country and it's people (with the exception of narrow-minded individuals such as the aforementioned reviewer), I find it insulting to be told that Britain is fervently anti-American. While such feelings certainly exist (perhaps understandably given recent political movements emerging from the White House), they are FAR less prominent in Britain than in just about any other corner of the world. Perhaps the support given by Britain to America in recent conflicts, while the British government manages to retain a relatively high level of public approval is pure coincidence?
Likewise, while this book does contains some biting criticism of American foreign policy, to suggest that the tone of the book is overtly anti-American implies that some of the comments left here are from individuals who have either not read or not truly understood the tone and aim of this book. Ferguson does not seek to attack America beyond some of its ill-conceived political approaches and structure, but rather attempts to uncover some of the failings of a nation that has created responsibility beyond its borders, and which has not always managed to match words with actions.
Perhaps the main criticisms I would level at this book, are that a) it focuses more upon the military actions of America, than on the economic and cultural factors (although explored in part) that help to explain why such actions took place, and b) that the thematic links between the American, Roman and British Empires, while interesting and insightful, are often overplayed for effect.
Despite these minor criticisms, American Colossus is highly recommended read for anyone interested in trying to understand the only true empire of our generation, and the political and historical causes and consequences of its far-reaching actions. ****
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