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41. The Making of the Roman Army:
42. Colossus: The Price of America's
43. Downfall: The End of the Imperial
44. Nemesis: The Last Days of the
45. The Fall of Empires: From Glory
46. The Pirate Queen: Queen Elizabeth
47. Zones of International Friction
48. Vegetation zones of Oahu, Hawaii
49. Flagging & work zone traffic
50. The Wicked Queen: The Origins
51. Zones of International Friction,
53. Zones of International Friction

41. The Making of the Roman Army: From Republic to Empire
by Lawrence Keppie
Paperback: 272 Pages (1998-03)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$14.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0806130148
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In this new edition, with a new preface and an updated bibliography, the author provides a comprehensive and well-documented survey of the evolution and growth of the remarkable military enterprise of the Roman army.
Lawrence Keppie overcomes the traditional dichotomy between the historical view of the Republic and the archaeological approach to the Empire by examining archaeological evidence from the earlier years.
The arguments of The Making of the Roman Army are clearly illustrated with specially prepared maps and diagrams and photographs of Republican monuments and coins. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

3-0 out of 5 stars A good introduction
Keppie's work regarding the development of the Roman Army from the republic to the early principate does a good job of describing some of the aspects of the Roman Army: marching camp, weapons and organisation. Lacking any meaningful battle descriptions, and with somewhat long appendix section on mostly irrelevent material, nevertheless is a good introductory book for the beginner.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good introductory guide
This is a good guide for anyone who is interested in how the Roman army functioned and how it changed over time.For specialists, this book will seem simple but for advanced undergraduates or disinterested graduate students the book is wonderful and I highly recommend it for them.Non-students should find it readable but may wish to consult other sources as well.Advanced graduate students who are more interested in military history will find it a bit boring.Overall well done and well written for the appropriate audience.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Very Interesting and Educational Book
I think this book is very interesting because it tells everything about the Roman Army and information you never knew. It includes the great information about people like generals and great emperors like Julius Caesar and his conquest of Gaul.Also tells from what kind of armour they wear to what they used as a weapon.It also explains there stradegies in battle such as when they put there sheilds together and keeping out any flying objects.This book will teach you any type of questions you have about the Roman Army.If you are doing a big report on the Roman Army and you need info this is the book to get and read.It has the table of contents if you need something specific its very helpful in a report or speach of some sort as I said.You will learn the great generals of Rome and How they soon took over all of Europe.... So read the book and see for yourself.

4-0 out of 5 stars nice addition to library
I found this book to be a nice companion piece to Graham Webster's The Roman Imperial Army. While Webster took the forensic approach to the Roman Army and focused on the physical structure ( armor, weapons, organization,forts, etc. ) Dr. Keppie looks at the evolution of the army from therepublic to the early Empire and the role the army played in thistransition both positive and negative. When read in conjucture with Dr.Webster the book fits in nicely. There are pictures, drawings, and layoutsof roman camps over diagrams of the archeological excavations of the actualforts and camps. This a very easy/pleasurable read and would make a niceadditon to one's personal library.

5-0 out of 5 stars If this book is a bargin-grab it fast!
This book is a great reference for people interested in the Roman Army.Keppie describes the changes that took place within the army throughout the Republic.He includes pictures and diagrams of how the army set up beforebattle as well as pictures of the weapons and armor the legions were usingat that time.The bibliography is extensive for those interested infinding out more information.This is a book that is used by many otherbooks on the Roman army.Buy it now! ... Read more

42. Colossus: The Price of America's Empire
by Niall Ferguson
Hardcover: 400 Pages (2004-04-26)
list price: US$25.95 -- used & new: US$5.43
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1594200130
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Niall Ferguson brings his renowned historical and economic depth of field to bear on a bold and sweeping reckoning with America's imperial status and its consequences.

Is America an empire?Certainly not, according to our government.Despite the conquest of two sovereign states in as many years, despite the presence of more than 750 military installations in two thirds of the world's countries and despite his stated intention "to extend the benefits of freedom...to every corner of the world," George W. Bush maintains that "America has never been an empire." "We don't seek empires," insists Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. "We're not imperialistic."

Nonsense, says Niall Ferguson. In Colossus he argues that in both military and economic terms America is nothing less than the most powerful empire the world has ever seen. Just like the British Empire a century ago, the United States aspires to globalize free markets, the rule of law, and representative government. In theory it's a good project, says Ferguson. Yet Americans shy away from the long-term commitments of manpower and money that are indispensable if rogue regimes and failed states really are to be changed for the better. Ours, he argues, is an empire with an attention deficit disorder, imposing ever more unrealistic timescales on its overseas interventions. Worse, it's an empire in denial-a hyperpower that simply refuses to admit the scale of its global responsibilities. And the negative consequences will be felt at home as well as abroad. In an alarmingly persuasive final chapter Ferguson warns that this chronic myopia also applies to our domestic responsibilities. When overstretch comes, he warns, it will come from within-and it will reveal that more than just the feet of the American colossus is made of clay.Amazon.com Review
"The United States today is an empire—but a peculiar kind of empire," writes Niall Ferguson. Despite overwhelming military, economic, and cultural dominance, America has had a difficult time imposing its will on other nations, mostly because the country is uncomfortable with imperialism and thus unable to use this power most effectively and decisively. The origin of this attitude and its persistence is a principal theme of this thought-provoking book, including how domestic politics affects foreign policy, whether it is politicians worried about the next election or citizens who "like Social Security more than national security." Ferguson, a British historian, has no objection to an American empire, as long as it is a liberal one actively underwriting the free exchange of goods, labor, and capital. Further, he writes that "empire is more necessary in the twenty-first century than ever before" as a means to "contain epidemics, depose tyrants, end local wars and eradicate terrorist organizations." The sooner America embraces this role and acts on it confidently, the better. Ferguson contrasts this persistent anti-imperialistic urge with the attitude held by the British Empire and suggests that America has much to learn from that model if it is to achieve its stated foreign policy objectives of spreading social freedom, democracy, development, and the free market to the world. He suggests that the U.S. must be willing to send money, civilians, and troops for a sustained period of time to troubled spots if there is to be real change—as in Japan and Germany after World War II--an idea that many American citizens and leaders now find repulsive. Rather than devoting limited resources and striving to get complex jobs done in a rush, Americans must be willing to integrate themselves into a foreign culture until a full Americanization has occurred, he writes. Overall, a trenchant examination of a uniquely American dilemma and its implications for the rest of the world. --Shawn Carkonen ... Read more

Customer Reviews (63)

5-0 out of 5 stars Another must-read from the great contrarian
This excellent and thought-provoking book is a companion and follow-on to Professor Ferguson's best-selling and critically acclaimed `Empire.' Whereas `Empire' was an examination of the historical legacy of the British Empire, `Colossus' brings the USA and its role in the world under the spotlight. Ferguson is of course not the first academic writer to do this but he does bring an original and radical perspective to the subject.

The fundamentals of Professor Ferguson's thesis are that the USA is, and has been for some 50 years, an `Empire in Denial.' His controversial and `politically incorrect' perspective is that there is nothing wrong with empire, per se: if one examines human history empires have been the norm not the exception; that the 19th century invention of the `nation state' is artificial and flawed, and has demonstrably led to an unnecessary level of poverty, to petty tyrannies and internecine tribal warfare, to `failed states' and misery for millions, excluded from credit and prosperity. He also sees the UN as chronically under-funded with a General Assembly dominated largely by unelected despots, an impotent paper tiger which can not and will not for the foreseeable future do anything effective to keep global peace.

In the first half of the book, the author gives a good overview of the history of the USA and its de-facto empire-building tendencies: its continental expansion westwards, wars against Spain and Mexico, adventures in The Philippines and in various parts of Latin America, and how it came to colonise parts of the Pacific region and gain military bases around the globe.

In the present day (the book was written in 2004) Ferguson sees the USA as an empire in all but name because of, among other things:

1. Complete dominance in military power with a global reach unlikely to be matched by any other state or combination of states in the foreseeable future, with a qualitative technological supremacy which makes it unique in human history

2. Economic and political power not so obviously complete or unchallenged as its military dominance but nevertheless significant, challenged only by a politically weak, uncertain and incompletely unified EU & a not yet developed economic superpower in China

3. Due to the international media power of Hollywood in particular and US popular culture in general, plus the world dominance of the English language, the USA is THE globally-dominant cultural superpower

Ferguson sees the current 180-plus independent and disparate nation states making up the geopolitical map as an inherently unstable and unsustainable model which results in permanent warfare, instability and inequities. His thesis is that because Europe, the only possible alternative, is insufficiently united and demonstrably lacks the political will, the USA has to act as global policeman simply because no-one else will exercise the responsibility. However the author sees the USA as de-facto global superpower to be disappointing with poor results, and points to several inherent weaknesses which make it ill-suited to exercising its global responsibilities:

1. Chronic fiscal indebtedness due mainly to federal spending on Medicare and other welfare commitments - >US$50 trillion and rising

2. Addiction to consumerism at any price leading to a chronic imbalance of trade

3. The manifest unwillingness of American citizens to take up their global responsibilities and serve abroad

4. A national `attention deficit' - let's get in and bomb, then get the troops out quickly, never mind about clearing up the mess or making a long-term commitment to ensure stability

The author makes the case that a global hegemon - `Pax Romana' in the ancient world or `Pax Britannica' in the 1800s - is A Good Thing for global stability. These former empires brought rule of law, stable government and huge investment to the regions under their control. In contrast, the recent era of US geo-political dominance has seen the `developing world' starved of investment with corrupt, despotic and kleptocratic governments indulged and tolerated; the erosion of human rights, poverty and bankruptcy for millions all in the name of `independence' and `sovereignty.'

As outlined above, Ferguson sees the primary causes of this woeful state of affairs to be a reluctance on the part of US policy makers, and the population as a whole, to get involved. He cites examples in the mid-20th century of the US making long-term commitments to Germany and Japan following WW2 and to South Korea in the 1950s, resulting eventually in free, democratic and prosperous nations with respect for human rights and good, non-corrupt governments, net contributors to the world. However these three examples have been exceptions: the USA has subsequently been hyper-sensitive about being seen as `imperialist' and in most cases does not follow-through its interventions with sufficient commitment or thoroughness to see a worthwhile result.

So in summary, Ferguson's view is that policy-makers in the USA might learn from the British example and impose a new global order for the 21st century by force if necessary rather than let the world continue to live in factional instability and chaos, populated by too many bankrupt failed states and aid-beggars. He sees only the USA as capable of implementing such a New World Order dominated by free democratic institutions and prosperity due to its military, political and economic power and its global reach. The thesis is less ideological than practical, and asks - in reality, what is the alternative and are the results better or worse?

`Colossus' is a rewarding, intelligent and original thesis offering a new perspective on the responsibilities of being a global superpower. It opens up interesting discussions on the desirability or otherwise of global hegemony and slays a few sacred cows (like the myopic ideological belief that Empire is a bad thing, period - `compared to what?' he asks). Even if you find yourself disagreeing with all or part of the author's thesis, it's healthy to have the debate and think out of the box for a change.

The book is highly recommended by this reviewer, especially to the more intelligent reader who welcomes new and original thought and is not afraid to have his preconceptions challenged by new ideas.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent perspective
Mr Ferguson, as usual, has given a very insightful analysis of where America has been and where America is headed - willy nilly. The arguments and rationale he presents clearly shows America as a reluctant, but nevertheless, an Empire charging head-on to God knows where. In comparing America to Victoria's empire one is left uncertain as to whether a proud self-confident empire is better (or not) than one that is in denial. Like Sir Winston said that our current form of government is not perfect but the best that we have - Mr Ferguson argues that the world will always have an empire (?for its own good) and in that context, America's is probably the best we have now. Only time will tell. In summary, Mr. Ferguson has written an extremely readable, unbiased and objective analysis of America's continuing struggle with its destiny. Seeing that America will play a major role in the forseeable future, anyone who has an interest in our future should read this book.
Dark blue he may be, but Mr. Ferguson has done himself proud with this excellent effort.

3-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating but...
This book doesn't have the sense of humor that Ascent of Money has,(the only other book I've read by this author) and its not the easiest read being perhaps a mite too academic, but its real problem for some may be the authors "ends justify the means" ethic. This realpolitik is somewhat convincing when he's arguing that MacArthur was right and that the West should have nuked North Korea; but when he says that George Bush was needlessly weak when he submitted to Tony Blair's request to ask for a second U.N. Resolution before attacking Iraq, he takes things too far.His assertion that the Vietnam War was "winnable" was also more than I could stomach.Ferguson is basically a fascist, who believes that American fascism is for the greater good vis a vis everyone elses fascism. His section explaining the "plight" of sub Saharan Africa is on eof the most disingenuous pieces of rubbish I've read in quite some time. His argument seems to be that Africa would be much better off if the Africans would only submit to benevolence of neo-colonial rule. Of course the problem with this argument is that it would force the Africans to admit that Europeans would be trustworthy masters, which of course is laughable on its face. His claims that Africa was better off before independence is an exercise in hair splitting that is nothing short of laughable.He gives little if any effort to the role that multinationals have played in supporting the dictatorships or to what role Metropolitan powers played in creating the conflicts, issues like creating countries arbitrarily through ethnic communities etc.His arguments are well thought out, but in the final analysis, he's running a game on those who arent familiar with the issues. The Ascent of Money shows an evolved author, slightly more willing to address America's faults.

3-0 out of 5 stars Head In The Air
I beleive that Ferguson's analysis of the use of American power is superficial. From the standpoint of an historical analysis it is narrow and theoretical to the extent that it fails to adequately analyse what has actually occurred.That there are limitations on the effective use of military power is not a particularly stunning revelation. The fact that, in his opinion, the US has not 'managed the world' as well as the Britsh empire may be legitimately interpreted as an argument for the reinstitution and revival of good old fashioned victorian colonialism.As to the US and the present Iraq War the professor is theoretical to the point that he does not consider that the country has survived a hideous long war with Iran, the first Gulf War, a decade or so of sanctions then this war. His quotes of polls demonstrating the degree to which those polled believe that the country is better off without Sadam Hussein confirm what is not contested: Sadam was a tyrant who represented a distinct minority.

It seems as though the book argues that if only th US had a standing army posted around the world of approximately 3,000,000 men with deployed nuclear arsenals we would be on the road to maintaining our empire.

I have enjoyed some of the author's other works: money, banking history but find this a bust. One cannot know everything about everything. Perhaps the Professor may write a complete history of the washtub and help rid the world of disease.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Liberal American Empire? Why not?
This is a wonderful book with wonderful conclusions that is ill-served by a rather poor historical argument in the first half.Ferguson, swimming against the political currents, argues that not only has the U.S. always been an "empire in denial," but a Liberal American empire focused on ending genocide, introducing democratic values, and lowering poverty levels would be the best thing for the world.He makes the rather unique argument that, contrary to popular belief, the British Empire of old brought with it free market practices, notions of the rule of law, and democratic values to many of the nations it ruled over (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and India to name a few).While he doesn't turn a blind eye to atrocities done by both the British and America, he ultimately takes the view that, all things considered, a liberal empire, under America today or Britain before, is a good thing.The second half of the book is very good.Ferguson makes a compelling case for liberal empire, debunks the idea of the European Union as a potential rival, and warns his American readers of the greatest threats to their imperium: growing Social Security and Medicare costs, a short attention span, and little dedication on the parts of its citizens to maintaining its empire (i.e. small numbers of recruits for the government organizations and NGOs).Ferguson falters greatly though in the first half of the book where he charts America's rise to hegemony from the Revolution to the present.His retelling of American history only seems to hurt rather than help his argument.And his chapter on U.S. goals in Iraq glosses over the fact that the Bush administration made WMDs and not humanitarian concerns the main reason for invading Iraq.If Ferguson were to revise these sections in an updated text, I might be far more willing to give him a higher rating. ... Read more

43. Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire
by Richard Frank
Hardcover: 512 Pages (1999-09-28)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$10.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 067941424X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

"The publication of Richard Frank's long-awaited Downfall is an event of great importance, not only to historians but to the general public. No aspect of World War II is more controversial today than the use of atomic bombs against Japan in 1945. Some have argued that this act was cruel and unnecessary since Japan was on the verge of surrender. But by means of exhaustive

research and the employment of previously neglected and recently declassified sources, Frank proves in this definitive book that neither the Emperor nor the Japa-nese armed forces were anywhere close to surrendering in August 1945.

"In a stunning tour de force, Frank re-creates the end of the war, not as it seemed to people writing much later but as it appeared to American and Japanese decision makers at the time. Though the bomb was often seen as the worst possible means of ending the Pacific war, Frank establishes that its use was superior to all existing alternatives, and saved not only Allied lives but Japa-nese lives as well. Masterly in conception, brilliantly

reasoned, superbly researched, Downfall is all but impossible to put down.

"Anyone concerned with the moral, military, and political issues surrounding the end of the Pacific war must read this book."

--William L. O'Neill, author of A Democracy at War

Downfall opens with a vivid portrayal of the catastrophic fire raid on Tokyo in March 1945--which was to be followed by the utter destruction of almost every major Japanese city--and ends with the anguished vigil of American and Japanese leaders waiting to learn if Japan's armed forces would obey the Emperor's order to surrender.

America's use of the atom bomb has generated more heated controversy than any other event of the whole war:

  • Did nuclear weapons save the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans poised to invade Japan?
  • Did U.S. leaders know that Japan was urgently seeking peace and needed only assurance about the Emperor's safety to end the war swiftly?
  • Was the bomb really used to intimidate the Russians?

  • Why wasn't the devastating power of the weapon demonstrated first before being unleashed on a city?

Richard B. Frank has brought to life these critical times, working from primary documents, reports, diaries, and newly declassified records. These pages present the untold story of how American leaders learned in the summer of 1945 that their compromise strategy to end the war by blockade and bombardment, followed by invasion, had been shattered; radio intelligence had unmasked a massive Japanese buildup on Kyushu designed to turn the initial invasion into a bloody shambles. Meanwhile, the text and analysis of diplomatic intercepts depicted sterile prospects for negotiation before a final clash of arms. Here also, for the first time, is a full and balanced account of how Japan's leaders risked annihilation by gambling on a military strategy aimed at securing political bargaining leverage to preserve the old order in Japan.

Downfall replaces the myths that now surround the end of the war and the use of the bomb with the stark realities of this great historical controversy.

Amazon.com Review
Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire is animpeccably written analysis of the last months of the Pacific War andthe unfolding of the American air campaign over Japan. The story openswith a searing description of the fire-bombing of Tokyo in March 1945,which caused more deaths than the atom bomb in Hiroshima. Within fivemonths, Japan's economy was collapsing and the country facedcatastrophic starvation. RichardB. Frank coolly analyzes different scenarios for ending the war(Russia waited in the wings). Frank concludes that the emperor and theJapanese military were far from ready to surrender, and that thedecision to use the atom bomb probably saved millions of lives, notonly Allied but Japanese and other Asian lives, also--perhaps ahundred thousand Chinese were dying each month under Japaneseoccupation. The effects of the bomb worked on many levels, evenlending faces to the Japanese militarists, who could convincethemselves that they were defeated not by a lack of spiritual powerbut by superior science. Densely documented, intelligently argued,Downfall recreates the end of the war from the viewpoints ofthe principals, giving the book an unusual immediacy. A highlyvaluable insight into the disintegration of the Japanese Empire, oneof the most dramatic episodes of World War II. --John Stevenson ... Read more

Customer Reviews (49)

5-0 out of 5 stars Final Defeat of the Japanese in WW2
Downfall is the second book I've read by Richard Frank (the other was Guadalcanal) and having read both, I'll certainly read his newest. This book examines the period of March 1945- August 15th, 1945 (Japanese surrender of WW2). The author explores the key questions concerning the use of the Atomic Bombs, covering key issues from both the American and Japanese view points. Diplomacy, Fire Raids, Blockade, the impact of code breaking of the Japanese Military and diplomatic messages, US plans to invade Japan in November of 1945 and the Japanese plans to fight to the last.

Frank does an excellent job exploring each issue, backing up his opinions with statistics, data, and primary sources written by the key players at the time it was happening. The last is the most important in proving his points that until we dropped the second A Bomb, the Japanese were not considering surrender. They would not do so absent a guarantee that the Emperor would remain in power. Many post war myths are debunked one by one.

This is serious history here - not for the faint hearted. For some, it will appear to bog down at times, but press on - it is well worth the effort. There are only three maps, a very minor criticism. The book has 70 pages of detailed notes and 10 pages of sources - most of them primary. I highly recommend this for those interested in the Pacific War, specifically, the end of the conflict. It will show you convincingly the hows and whys of the use of the A-bomb, a crucial factor in ending a cruel war.

4-0 out of 5 stars Flamedamper
This book appears to be carefully and fully researched as shown by the author's care to cite his many primary references in-line. Historians have a natural opportunity to "prove" a point by using only references that are selected to back it, but I believe Richard B. Frank put the horse before the cart by drawing his conclusions from the evidence he found. What a relief to find that Richrd B. Frank is worlds apart from Charles Pellegrino!

There is a full spectrum of beliefs about whether the US had to use atomic bombs on Japan, but I am of the school of thought that claims we did the Japanese an extraordinary favor by ending the war as quickly as we did. The author provides a convincing weight of evidence for this, and also for why it was necessary to use two bombs.

One does not have to be a doomsday fanatic to understand that the consequences of not using the bombs would have been immeasurably worse than what actually happened.

I show only four stars, because I would have appreciated more history on interactions between the Japanese and the American occupiers pertaining to the bomb's effects. There is at least one not-very-credible source that claims the effects were generally hushed up by the Americans.

3-0 out of 5 stars NOT FOR CASUAL READERS
I found this tedious reading. Type size and spacing between lines is part of this. Having said this, the book offers excellent analysis and extensive research support for those who question our fire bombing of cities and use of the atomic bomb against the Japanese.

1-0 out of 5 stars Hell to Pay
I have ordered this book twice and both times you have sent me the wrong one!!!! The book i selected is titled "Hell to pay" Operation Downfall by D.M Giangreco. I dont want the book titled "Downfall" by Richard Frank!!!! I kept the wrong book you sent the first time - i don't wnat to send this one back. Get it right.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Extraordinary Work
This book stands head and shoulders above almost every work on World War II. I realize that is a strong statement since many books have been written and will be written on this important topic. But in my opinion, Downfall and Richard B. Frank deserve the highest praise.

The research is flawless and the writing is spellbinding. Perhaps most important, Mr. Frank takes on historical revisionists who have hijacked the WWII discussion and knocks them down one by one with fact after fact. And he does this without being shrill.

It is sad that today, many people actually believe that the United States committed war crimes in their victory over the Japanese Empire between 1941 to 1945. Even worse, many young people who must depend on teachers and professors for their information on this period and they are sadly the recipients of this disinformation. Instead, Mr. Frank explains that the only real war crime would have been allowing the Japanese to win World War II.

A second holocaust occurred during the war. Americans know about the one in Europe. But most do not know that upwards of 17 million people - mostly Asians - died at the hands of the Japanese. This is not war. This is genocide. And it came to a complete halt when the Americans forced the Japanese to surrender and the Imperial Army was forced to go back to Japan.

Mr. Frank explains this story through painstaking research. He does not flinch from the pain that the Japanese endured because of the policies of their rulers. In a better world, this book would be mandatory reading in every college history course.
... Read more

44. Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (The American Empire Project)
by Chalmers Johnson
Audio CD: Pages (2007-02-02)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$12.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786158794
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Exploring in vivid detail the likely consequences of America's dependence on a permanent war economy, Johnson's prophetic book shows how imperial overstretch is undermining the republic itself, economically and politically. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (85)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Empire of the United States of America
In a day and age of mindless reality TV shows and copious books written for the pop culture mind, Chalmers Johnson deftly and thoroughly defines, both from a modern perspective and historically as well, why America can keep its empire and lose its democracy or lose its empire and keep its democracy. It, however, cannot do both simultaneously. You will never read or listen to another news report in the same way after reading this book. In my opinion, we may have elected a new and very capable president, but a larger corporate machine actually rules the earth.
Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (American Empire Project)

1-0 out of 5 stars Dissapointing effort
Chalmers' previous work, Blowback had come highly recommended to me by a friend whose political views are pretty much the opposite of mine, but who I deeply respect and quite enjoy arguing with.I had really intended to read that volume first, but as I am live in Germany and must take what I can get in terms of English writing, I came across this one first.

I was deeply disappointed with this book.Let me open by putting my cards on the table; I suppose I am relatively conservative, with an emotional bent towards libertarianism, but I've studied enough economics and read enough politics to temper my emotions with reason.I like the United States, but am not blind to its flaws nor am I a fan of Bush, Cheney, or their associates, and I did not vote for them in either election in which they ran.I also feel that the Iraq war has been an almost unmitigated disaster.The nation needs a serious and critical discussion examining our response to 9/11, and some soul searching about how to deal with it and how to deal with future events of its type that will likely occur."Nemesis" is not a serious examination.

To be sure, Mr. Chalmers has extensively footnoted his tome, perhaps in an attempt to give it a sheen of academic respectability.Footnotes, however, can be a double edged sword.After all, the reader may actually go out and look them up, as I have done to more than a few of them.

Mr. Chalmers opens the book with some contentions that are, and there is no kinder way to put this, sheer fantasy.The first is that some sort of military coup lies just around the corner.He states early on that General Tommy Franks is "open to the idea that `the constitution could be scrapped in favor of a military form of government.'" (Nemesis, p.14)I'm relatively familiar with the organizational culture of the American military.I've never served, but I did write my master's thesis about the origins of military coups in developing countries, and did extensive work comparing their military cultures to that of the European powers (particularly the UK) and the United States.Given that my research indicated that civilian objective control is a deeply ingrained value in American military culture, I found this comment a little surprising.I can't imagine a four star general stating, or even thinking, that knocking of the congress and the president would be a good idea.So I dug out the original interview with Franks, where he actually laments the militarization of US foreign policy, and states that a military coup would be a "worst case scenario."That's hardly being, as Mr. Chalmers claims, "open to the idea."Of course, the source for Mr. Chalmers claims is the Propagandmatrix website, which is hardly reputable, and also distorts General Franks statements to the point of libel.So either Mr. Chalmers is deliberately distorting the truth about General Frank's statement, or he's simply a very bad researcher.I'll be charitable and assume the latter.

Throughout the book, Mr. Chalmers' sources are either biased, dodgy, misquoted, or out and out bogus.He also seems to be carrying a very serious political axe to grind.

The truth is that neither party, Republicans or Democrats, covered themselves with glory in the lead up to the Iraq war.The Republicans were vainglorious and foolhardy, and the Democrats willingly supine.But the people singled out for excoriation are, unsurprisingly, almost exclusively members of one party.Guess which one it is.

An additional target for slander is the US military itself."...Soldiers are unaccountable for their acts to any authority except their military superiors...[US Military] investigations are normally oriented towards covering up what happened. (Nemesis, p.31)"This is both misleading and blatently misrepresentative of actual events.The military does indeed have its own court system, and its own body of regulations (the Universal Code of Military Justice), and soldiers that commit crimes while under the flag are prosecuted and dealt with by this system.But I would like to remind the reader that it is no picnic to be prosecuted under the UCMJ- most penalties are far harsher than civilians would likely receive outside the system.I would also like to point out that the Judge Advocate General's Corps is by no means a rubber stamp body.The only significant resistance, for example, to the extreme broadening of rules governing torture did not come from Congress, or from civilian legal groups (although some of them did object).The most vehement, longstanding, and effective attempt to stop the "broadening" of interrogation techniques, or use of "enhanced interrogation, came from within the military.It was the JAG that fought the good fight.(Josh White, Washington Post, July 15th, 2005).The Military lawyers that I know universally condemn these procedures as both unlawful, ill conceived, and ineffective.Mr. Chalmers want to present a picture of the military as wishing to run buck wild and fight the whole planet.This is hardly the case.

Mr. Chalmers problems with sources extend beyond misquotation into misrepresentation or misidentification."Historian" Kevin Baker is actually a journalist who has written a historical novel.Is Dan Brown also a "historian?"Naomi Klein, though potentially a good source, is presented as an uncontroversial one, which she is not.Items from conspiracy theory websites are valued at the same rate as legitimate news organs as the Washington Post.Noam Chomsky is taken seriously.Good God, it's awful.

In all seriousness, the issues that this book addresses need to be talked about, and this book needs to be written.But not by Mr. Chalmers.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good information, hard to recommend
If I was to base my review of this book based solely on it's depth of information and the necessity for it to be read by those who aren't aware of America's behavior in other countries, or who are obstinately in denial about it, I would give it 5 stars. Chalmers Johnson isn't just some policy wonk or wind bag pundit; he's a guy that has had a lot of hands-on experience in dealing with the issues he talks about in this book. His level of detail and sense of urgency are tangible.
The reason I gave it 3 stars is because:
1.) As someone pointed out, this book is pretty depressing. The picture Mr. Johnson paints is pretty bleak, so much so that his comparisons to Rome and it's fall seem like a fait accompli; an unchangeable fate of collapse and hardship. While his analysis may be spot on, it certainly doesn't leave the reader with the warm and fuzzies.
2.) The authors data is sound and his theories may prove to be true, but he does also have some opinions that have to be sorted through. He definitely has some opinions about things that are, of course, going to set the arch of the narrative he's writing, but they do occasionally manifest themselves in the form of personal attacks. The dust jacket of the book will certainly confirm that he isn't/wasn't a fan of the Bush administration, but he also seems to have a problem with author Thomas Friedman and takes a very negative view of Congressman Charlie Wilson's actions towards Afghanistan.
Pros: The author shows the reader a world that isn't often covered by most regular, liberal, or conservative media sources. America's armaments manufacturing industry, world wide network of military bases (garrisons), and concentration of too much power in the hands of too few are dirty little secrets no one can deny responsibility for. This is important information that people should know about.
There are some good history lessons here for those that aren't familiar with America's Machiavellian tinkering with the political systems of other countries.
This book should serve as a clear warning to those of us that still care enough about the US to not bury our heads in the sands of ignorance or pointless self aggrandizement.
Cons: This book is depressing. It's stark history and cold analysis. Reality is brutal and we have to accept our part in it or fail.
The author's opinions will instantly turn off people of a certain mindset. The author isn't a pinko liberal elitist, but I'm sure his angle on things will make some think he is.
Not the good-time read of the summer.

If you have the guts to take a body blow to your patriotism, and the brains to weed out the author's personal BS, READ THIS BOOK.

5-0 out of 5 stars Book 3 of Triology
Together all three books in Johnson's "American Empire Project", Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire, & the final one, Nemesis should serve as a wake-up call to the dangers facing this country & the sobering thought that the last days of the American Republic might actually be at hand. These are not the only good books written on this subject but they're among the best I've read. I thoroughly enjoyed them. They should be read in the chronological order in which they were written. Excellent treatment of a truly scary subject. Well done!

1-0 out of 5 stars Bad Book
Nemesis is the most negative book I've read in years. The author, an academic intelectual, has virtually NOTHING good to say about America or Americans. He has the Noam Chomsky-Chicken Little view of the world. ANYTHING wrong is America's fault no matter what.We are the most dangerous, evil, contemptable, bunch of corrupt people in the world. There is no relief from the first page to the last. It is too one sided to have ANY merit.

Dixon ... Read more

45. The Fall of Empires: From Glory to Ruin, and Epic Account of History's Ancient Civilization
by Cormac O'Brien
 Paperback: Pages (2009)
-- used & new: US$14.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1435110927
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46. The Pirate Queen: Queen Elizabeth I, Her Pirate Adventurers, and the Dawn of Empire
by Susan Ronald
Hardcover: 496 Pages (2007-07-01)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$6.83
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060820667
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Extravagant, whimsical, and hot-tempered, Elizabeth was the epitome of power, both feared and admired by her enemies. Dubbed the "pirate queen" by the Vatican and Spain's Philip II, she employed a network of daring merchants, brazen adventurers, astronomer philosophers, and her stalwart Privy Council to anchor her throne—and in doing so, planted the seedlings of an empire that would ultimately cover two-fifths of the world.

In The Pirate Queen, historian Susan Ronald offers a fresh look at Elizabeth I, relying on a wealth of historical sources and thousands of the queen's personal letters to tell the thrilling story of a visionary monarch and the swashbuckling mariners who terrorized the seas to amass great wealth for themselves and the Crown.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Enlightening Read
Frankly, I'm surprised that there were any reviews with less than 4 stars.This book is very enlightening for readers of fiction and non-fiction, historians and non-historians alike.

Personally, I learned a lot about the mindset that led to colonization of America, present day England, Holland, Ireland and Spain and how trade and religion were important factors that created an interesting dynamic within Elizabeth's court and between countries.The excitement, energy, motivation and strategies of the individuals and the countries were portrayed really well.

I would recommend this book to readers who would like to add a large and important period of history to their knowledge in an interesting and mind-expanding book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but hardly about a Pirate Queen
Contrary to the title, this book is hardly about Elizabeth. It is about economics and politics in 16th century England and yes, during Elizabeth's reign. And she is mentioned on just about every page. But she remains a figure in the background, supposedly steering men like Hawkins, Drake and the like. "Supposedly", because we never hear about the way she makes her decisions. She's described as a cunning politician, conniving to play off other heads of state against each other. The author constantly makes her appear as a potentate who designs her own plans and puts them into practice. Men like Leicester or Burghley are reduced to simple executives. It's a sort of silly feminism, which seems to blindly assume that a woman is in control because she is head of state and willfully ignores the influence of (male) advisers. Not that all the give and take, the internal disagreements in her government need to be spelled out; that would have been a different book. But the constant vague and offhand way in which Elizabeth's decisions are described make her seem more like an icon than an interesting person.
That being said, it is a reasonably good book about the way war and economics developed and the part piracy played in all this.

4-0 out of 5 stars Intensely Interesting!
This is as interesting and well written a book on England's 16th Century emergence, from third world nation status to global superpower stature, as you are likely to find. I especially appreciate the consistency with which author Susan Roland puts the economics of Queen Elizabeth's decisions into today's terms. This goes a long way toward making Elizabeth's decisions understandable. Piracy was an amazingly big business. With single voyages generating over $1.0 billion in today's equivalent, utilizing current values enables readers to readily understand how large an economic driver piracy was to England's evolution as a superpower. Plunder became England's primary growth industry, the financial bedrock upon which England's global dominance over the next 400 years was built. Since most of this wealth was taken from Spain, plunder also planted the seeds which would ultimately destroy Spain's preeminent position in world affairs.

After Philip of Spain stifles England's ability to export wool, its primary cash crop, early in Elizabeth's reign, England subsequently suffers from an inability to either fund its defense or protect its interests on the European stage. Beset by powerful enemies both secular and religious, England struggles with Spain and the Catholic Church externally and Scotland internally. Moreover, England's allies were in disarray. France was often religiously bipolar, while Holland, Belgium (then referred to as the Low Countries) and Portugal were economically dependant. Revolution was rife and Elizabeth's monarchy was tenuous to say the least.

With this as the backdrop to relations in the neighborhood, Elizabeth made common cause with what history refers to as her adventurers. Piracy had been practiced along most European and Mediterranean coasts for centuries. But under Elizabeth, English piracy became a global, state sanctioned art form, an economic necessity for survival that harvested the seas for the Queen's Treasury. Elizabeth begins to organize with John Hawkins' voyages to the Caribbean where he razed whole towns and ravaged Spanish shipping. Next was Francis Drake's Caribbean activities and his subsequent circumnavigation of the Earth which plucked the best value from Spain's global empire. By the time of the Spanish Inquisition, the Catholic-Protestant debates were in full tilt and undeclared war existed between England, Spain and the Catholic Church with numerous Spanish and Catholic assassination attempts on Elizabeth's life. England's piracy was no longer small, single voyage ventures but numbered over 200 ships, with individual fleets varying from 15 to 30 vessels and employing between 500 - 1,000 men. Under the guidance of veteran sea dogs Hawkins and Drake, piracy had grown into England's de facto Navy, becoming sufficiently powerful to stave off Spain's Armada when Philip's anger bubbled over and he unleashed that 500 ship weapon in 1588.

This is an amazing story, well told, which builds with a power and a mastery of detail that is quite appealing. I came away from this work understanding that both England, and subsequently her American Colonies, were built on the bedrock of piracy. Moreover, the great explorations and colonization efforts of Martin Frobisher, Walter Raleigh and others, were, generally speaking, voyages where pillage and plunder, especially at Spain's expense, were an encouraged and necessary business practice.

Wonderfully detailed and excellently crafted, Roland's work spares no effort in describing the intrigue and confrontation involved in England's rise and Spain's downfall as Europe's dominant global power. This is as good a description of this fascinating portion of history as I have found and a read that is really second to none in explaining the intricacy of the time period covered.

The Pirate Queen is a remarkably worthwhile book.

3-0 out of 5 stars The War Queen reveled
Dr Dee convinced Queen Elizabeth that she was the goddess of anempire. And indeed she did it. But at what price? Much like crossed the Rubicon and created the ultimate Empire in Rome.But at what price?A great burden to the common people.

The phrase "British Empire" wasn't coined in the 18th or 19th centuries but by John Dee in 1577.

Overt acceptance of plunder and piracy as central to state policy.

It was not well liked by everyone in fact Elizabeth survived 20 assassination attempts.

"English piracy flourished with the tacit approval of the State."

Empire based upon "booty'.

The Queen told her legion of thugs and adventures to "Seek new worlds for gold for profit and glory.

Power greed and sailing expertise to the advancement of England.

Elizabeth and her head of intelligence Sir Francis Walsingham Drake and Dr Dee

turned loose upon the world a bunch of pirate cutthroats.

Much like the US today and it large mercenery armies.

But at what price?

2-0 out of 5 stars Yes and No
The author is no doubt a thorough historian, or at least seems so from the pedantic writing style.Her detail, especially from the original sources is amazing.However, she is not a wonderful story teller and sometimes the detail can be so distracting that the narrative suffers.Take the matter of cost.No one doubts that the Pound Sterling of the 16th Century is far removed from the value of today's currency, but including the original cost, the modern cost in Pounds Sterling and the cost in American dollars can be disconcerting, especially when several costs are given in succession. Also, she seems intent on including such lengthy quotes that one wonders why her editor didn't use his red pencil like a rapier to slash away the deadwood. I'm not suggesting this is not a good book, if by good you mean well researched.However, it is not smoothly written, and consequently not a pleasure read. ... Read more

47. Zones of International Friction Volume IV: North America, South of the Great Lakes Region 1748-1754 (The British Empire Before the American Revolution)
by Lawrence Henry Gipson
 Hardcover: Pages (1961-01-01)

Asin: B002Q6HMOI
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48. Vegetation zones of Oahu, Hawaii
by Frank Edwin Egler
 Unknown Binding: 14 Pages (1939)

Asin: B00089IEPQ
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49. Flagging & work zone traffic control
by Carolyn Hurst
 Unknown Binding: 80 Pages (1995)

Asin: B0006S4A5M
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50. The Wicked Queen: The Origins of the Myth of Marie-Antoinette
by Chantal Thomas
Hardcover: 256 Pages (1999-05-14)
list price: US$36.95 -- used & new: US$9.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0942299396
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In The Wicked Queen, Chantal Thomas presents the history of the mythification of one of the most infamous queens in all history, whose execution still fascinates us today. Almost as soon as Marie-Antoinette, archduchess of Austria, was brought to France as the bride of Louis XVI in 1771, she was smothered in images. In a monarchy increasingly under assault, the charm and horror of her feminine body and her political power as a foreign intruder turned Marie-Antoinette into an alien other. Marie-Antoinette's mythification, argues Thomas, must be interpreted as the misogynist demonization of women's power and authority in revolutionary France. In a series of pamphlets written from the 1770s until her death in 1793, Marie-Antoinette is portrayed as a spendthrift, a libertine, an orgiastic lesbian, and a poisoner and infant murderess. In her analyses of these pamphlets, seven of which appear here in translation for the first time, Thomas reconstructs how the mounting hallucinatory and libelous discourse culminated in the inevitable destruction of what had become the counterrevolutionary symbol par excellence. The Wicked Queen exposes the elaborate process by which the myth of Marie-Antoinette emerged as a crucial element in the successful staging of the French Revolution. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars From saint to sinner, a la the press
"The Wicked Queen" by Chantal Thomas is a thoughtful, well-researched book that explores the role of the queen in France, as well as how, through the power of the propaganda hate machine, the public image of Marie Antoinette was morphed from the sweet, fresh-faced Dauphine that the people adored upon her arrival in France, to the sexually deviant, murderous queen they accused her of being as the revolution took hold.

As a bonus, in the back of the book are a handful of the original pamphlets of the day, fully translated into English. These are quite interesting, as I've always wanted to read some of the infamous pieces of propaganda (some of which are often referenced in various biographies of Marie Antoinette), complete and unedited. One can almost feel the sadistic glee infused by its authors into the writing, which was specifically crafted to tap into the public's rage and despair over the prevailing social order, using one woman as a scape-goat for all evils. As such, the pamphlets' content is quite crude and blunt . . . so if you're not entirely interested in the disgusting specifics of the accusations hurled at the queen, you may easily skip that section of the book (which is pretty much a separate entity, buried behind Author's Notes, etc.).

All in all, if you're interested in the origins of the generally accepted -- and mostly false -- pop-culture image of Marie Antoinette (as the unsympathetic tart who flippantly proclaims "Let them eat cake!"), I definitely recommend this book for an interesting, informative read.

3-0 out of 5 stars It's more "thesis" than book
I read and reread this and I never could make myself like it. It's pretty bad. But for those not wanting to know that much about the human Antoinette and more interested in her in the metaphysical sense, this is the book for you. It's crap to me right now. But who knows....I might find gold in it a decade down the road. Maybe there's insight I've yet to understand. Hence, I'm not placing it in a garage sale...for now.

1-0 out of 5 stars very disappointed
I regret I did not read these reviews before I bought this book.
The digressions were very distracting. I was greatly offended by the
vulgar language of the phamplets. I had to throw the book out to prevent any one else being offended. At the time I bought this book I bought another that was more informative.

5-0 out of 5 stars Marie Antoinette out of Context
Unfortunately publishers feel that a book on Marie Antoinette will sell every couple years, so like clockwork we see an avalanche of pro royalist, sympathetic, out of context garbage.Most of them repeat the same legends...They base their accounts of the flight to Varennes on Carlyle and talk about her martydom...With the exception of Le Notre not one of her biographers has also done a biography of one of the leaders of the Revolution.Most demonstrate an alarming lack of understanding of basic events such as the the Bread March on Verseilles, September Massacres, the Necklace Affair or even how official Court appointment were made.

This is the first book in sometime that has put Marie Antoinette back into the context of her time...unfortunately for Royalist Mythology she was commonly referred to as the Austrian ....By her actions she precipitated the Revolution...she was provocative and weak...a flammable combination.

As for the reader who's sensibilities are offended by the "riding the penis" cartoon...you obviously haven't seen the several thousand cartoons of time that are available...the one you refer to IS tame...you should see the ones where she is dressed like a nun....You should also read the pamphlets sold at the Palais Royale...

While Hebert did indeed make things up in her indictment, it is hard to get around the fact that she has to shoulder a lot of responsibility for the revolution...

I recommend this book as one of the best books on Marie Antoinette in last 20 years...it has also prompted me to seek out the author.

I think the book is well researched, devoid of sentimentality and attempts to place Marie Antoinette back into the context of the tapestry of her times.

Michael La Vean
Fellow, International Napoleonic Society

1-0 out of 5 stars Garbage!
The author should study her history and get the facts!
This book was a joke. I was rather furious and more than disappointed. Marie Antoinette's name was drug through the mud over 200 years ago based on hearsay and false accusations.

Isn't it time she is given the credit due her by now?
Read your facts author! ... Read more

51. Zones of International Friction, North America South of the Great Lakes Region 1748-1754 (THE BRITISH EMPIRE BEFORE THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, VOLUME 4)
 Hardcover: 312 Pages (1938)

Asin: B000CMDM0G
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

 Hardcover: Pages (1939)

Asin: B002CIFDM8
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

53. Zones of International Friction : North America, south of the Great Lakes region 1748-1754 (The British Empire before the American Revolution, Volume IV)
by Lawrence Henry Gipson
 Hardcover: Pages (1967)

Asin: B001Q90680
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan


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