What role does the United States play in the world? What role should the United States play in the world?
Niall Ferguson, Hoover senior fellow, proposes in Colossus: The Price of America's Empire (Penguin Press, 2004) that although many in the United States deny that it's an empire or has aspirations to become one, it already is one and, indeed, that there is little that is remarkable about this. The larger questions Ferguson poses are how well and for how long is the United States willing to play its role as an empire?
Ferguson's controversial position—that the United States is an empire—has drawn criticism and praise. Whether one agrees or disagrees, it's certain that Ferguson's view merits considerable discussion. "Colossus is sure to shake the assumptions of both fans and critics of the American Empire—including those who deny that such a thing even exists," said Max Boot, scholar and author of The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power.
Niall Ferguson is Herzog Professor of Financial History at the Stern Business School, New York University, and senior research fellow at Jesus College, Oxford University, where he is also a visiting professor of history. His previous books include The Pity of War: Explaining World War One; The House of Rothschild; The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World, 1700–2000; and Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power.
Colossus: The Price of America's Empire
By Niall Ferguson
ISBN: 1-59420-013-0 $25.95 paperback
366 pages April 2004