Ferguson (history, Harvard U.) argues that the US is an empire, although that's not necessarily a bad thing. Unfortunately, he contends, it is a bad thing that the US is largely not self-conscious of itself as an empire and is therefore unable to learn from the achievements and failures of past empires and is likely to remain non- self-conscious for the foreseeable future. For the new paperbound edition, Ferguson adds a preface defending the work against some of its critics and considering the implications of the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq for his thesis. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
At 384 pages, Colossus is one of Ferguson's smaller books; but it is his most ambitious effort yet to connect historical analysis with what is happening in the world today. His thesis is simply stated: the United States is an empire, however much Americans might deny that fact; its record of accomplishment in this capacity is not very good; and it should learn from the experiences of earlier empires, notably that of Britain.