In 1900, where Churchill ended the fourth volume of his History of the English-Speaking Peoples, the United States had not yet emerged onto the world scene as a great power. Meanwhile, the British Empire was in decline but did not yet know it. Any number of other powers might have won primacy in the twentieth century and beyond, including Germany, Russia, possibly even France. Yet the coming century was to belong to the English-speaking peoples, who successively and successfully fought the Kaiser's Germany, Axis aggression and Soviet Communism, and who are now struggling against Islamic fundamentalist terrorism.
Andrew Roberts brilliantly reveals what made the English-speaking people the preeminent political culture since 1900, and how they have defended their primacy from the many assaults upon them. What connects those countries where the majority of the population speaks English as a first language—the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the West Indies and Ireland—is far greater than what separates them, and the development of their history since 1900 has been a phenomenal success story.
Authoritative and engrossing, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900 is an enthralling account of the century in which the political culture of one linguistic world-grouping comprehensively triumphed over all others. Roberts's History proves especially invaluable as the United States today looks to other parts of the English-speaking world as its best, closest and most dependable allies.
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Andrew Roberts is the author of Masters and Commanders and A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900. His other books include Napoleon and Wellington, Eminent Churchillians, and Salisbury, which won the Wolfson History Prize. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he holds a PhD in history from Cambridge University and writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and The Daily Beast. He lives in New York City.From Publishers Weekly:
The English-speaking nations—America, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the West Indies—are a "decent, honest, generous, fair-minded and self-sacrificing imperium" and "the last, best hope for Mankind," argues this jingoistic peroration. Roberts (Napoleon and Wellington) treats them as a political-cultural unity, thriving on respect for law and property, laissez-faire capitalism and the Protestant ethic, and standing together against Nazism, communism and Islamic terrorism. (Ireland is the black sheep—backward, unruly, pro-fascist and Catholic.) His rambling, disjointed survey celebrates their achievements in science, technology, sports and Big Macs, but the book is mainly an apologia for an allegedly benign Anglo-American imperialism. The author defends virtually every 20th-century British or American military adventure, from the conquest of the Philippines to the Vietnam War, finishing with a lengthy justification of the invasion of Iraq; his villains are domestic critics and leftist intellectuals whom he calls "appeasers" and who sap the English-speaking peoples' resolve by propagandizing for totalitarianism (also Mel Gibson, whose anti-British movies sabotage English-speaking peoples' solidarity). Roberts writes in a bluff, Tory style, mixing bombast with jocular Briticisms like a running leitmotif of whimsical geopolitical wagers placed at London clubs. Lively but unsystematic, sometimes insightful but always one-sided, this is less a history than a chest-thumping conservative polemic. 16 pages of b&w photos, 2 maps. (Feb. 6)
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