Have we learnt the lessons of the past - or will we be next? Many of the great ruins that grace the deserts and jungles of the earth are monuments to civlisations which fell victim to their own success: from Easter Island's monolithic wilderness to the perpetual silence of the Mayan ruins and ultimately to today's melting ice caps and growing ozone hole, the cycle has continually repeated itself across the years.
From the award-winning, #1 bestselling author of A Short History of Progress comes another surprising, frightening and essential book. The USA is now the world’s lone superpower, whose deeds could make or break this century. For better and worse, America has Americanized the world. How did a marginal frontier society, in a mere two centuries, become the de facto ruler of the world? Why do America’s great achievements in democracy, prosperity and civil rights now seem threatened by forces within itself? Brimming with insight into history and human behaviour, and written in Wright’s captivating style, What Is America? shows how this came to pass; how the United States, which regards itself as the most modern country on earth, is also deeply archaic, a stronghold not only of religious fundamentalism but of “modern” beliefs in limitless progress and a universal mission that have fallen under suspicion elsewhere in the west, a rethinking driven by two World Wars and the reckless looting of our planet. A fresh, passionate look at the past and future of the world’s most powerful nation, What Is America? will reframe the debate about our neighbour and ourselves. From the Hardcover edition.