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The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered its Cold War Victory

Andrew J. Bacevich



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Metropolitan Books
07 January 2020
History; History of the Americas
When the fall of the Berlin Wall ended the Cold War, the American political establishment felt it had prevailed in a cosmic struggle of world-historical significance. Our side had won, the outcome both decisive and irreversible. For the world's indispensable nation and sole superpower, the future looked very bright indeed. History itself had seemingly delivered the United States to the very summit of power and prestige, thereby validating American-style liberal democratic capitalism as the future of humankind.

In the decades that followed, American leaders put that claim to the test. They embraced globalization as a putative source of unprecedented wealth, embarked on wide-ranging military campaigns to export American values, and redefined the very meaning of freedom. Meanwhile, they placed all their bets on the White House fulfilling the promise of their Cold War triumph: unequaled prosperity, lasting peace, and absolute freedom.

In The Age of Illusions, bestselling author Andrew Bacevich takes us from that moment of seemingly ultimate victory to the age of Trump, recounting an epic tale of folly and delusion. Writing with his usual eloquence and vast knowledge, he explains how within a quarter of a century the United States ended up with gaping inequality, permanent war, moral confusion, and an increasingly angry and alienated population, as well as, of course, the strangest president in American history.
By:   Andrew J. Bacevich
Imprint:   Metropolitan Books
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 219mm,  Width: 146mm,  Spine: 29mm
Weight:   337g
ISBN:   9781250175083
ISBN 10:   1250175089
Pages:   256
Publication Date:   07 January 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Andrew J. Bacevich is professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University. A graduate of both the U.S. Military Academy and Princeton University, he served in the U.S. Army for twenty-three years. His recent books include The Limits of Power, America's War for the Greater Middle East, and Twilight of the American Century. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, the London Review of Books, and the American Conservative, among other publications.

Reviews for The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered its Cold War Victory

Offers tantalizing insights into how America's Cold War victory soured. . . . Most interesting. --The Economist Those unfamiliar with Bacevich's work will be thrilled to encounter a first-rate thinker whose trenchant, objective, well-written analyses defy glib labeling . . . Highly recommended. --CHOICE This engrossing recounting of the irresponsibility of America's ruling class--aided and abetted by a citizenry grown complacent--clarifies the absurdities of the ascent of Trump. Like a Greek tragedian of old, Bacevich insistently discloses the discomfiting truth, showing how America's self-congratulatory past has led to our wrenching present. Instead of illusions, he offers hope for a future free of self-deception, and points the way toward a newly responsible American civic life. --Patrick J. Deneen, author of Why Liberalism Failed In The Age of Illusions, Andrew Bacevich offers a thoughtful, well-informed, and deeply humane critique of the self-absorbed grandiosity that dominates American foreign policy. He is one of a handful of sane voices contributing to the national conversation, and this is an indispensable book for our troubled times. --Jackson Lears, author of Rebirth of a Nation This astute analysis of how the United States squandered its 'cold war victory' shows how the elites wasted the peace dividend with policies favoring global neoliberalism, military hegemony, and radical individualism, paralyzing Washington and delivering the oval office to a patently incompetent candidate. --Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, Editor, Commonweal (retired) America's most important challenges preceded Trump and will outlast him, Andrew Bacevich argues in this searing and powerful account of U.S. politics. This book will anger many readers, but it should also ignite overdue debate about permanent war enabled by public apathy, and economic inequality produced by globalized neoliberalism. --Mary Dudziak, author of War Time As clear-headed as always, as honest as usual, Andrew Bacevich gives us a brilliant account of how the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War brought on not the end of history but an explosion of American hubris and an era of excess that blinded our political class to reality, stunted citizenship, undermined governance, and ignited angry disenchantment among great swaths of the public, enabling a real-life Captain Queeg to seize the helm, shouting 'Full Steam Ahead' toward monumental disaster. Unless, says Bacevich in his compelling conclusion, we come to our senses. --Bill Moyers

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