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Macmillan Farrar, Straus and Giroux (FSG) Fall 2018

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Grand Improvisation
America Confronts the British Superpower, 1945-1957
By (author): Derek Leebaert
9780374250720 Hardcover English HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century Oct 16, 2018 Print Run: 30000
$45.50 CAD
Active 6.45 x 0.9 x 1.8 in | 900 gr 624 pages 7 Black-and-White Illustrations, 4 Maps / Notes, Index Farrar Straus & Giroux Farrar, Straus and Giroux
An enduring myth of the twentieth century is that the United States rapidly became a superpower in the years after World War II, when the British Empire-the greatest in history-was too wounded to maintain a global presence. In fact, Derek Leebaert argues in Grand Improvisation, the idea that a traditionally insular United States suddenly transformed itself into the leader of the free world is illusory, as is the notion that the British colossus was compelled to retreat. The United States and the U.K. had a dozen abrasive years until Washington issued a "declaration of independence" from British influence. Only then did America explicitly assume leadership of the world order just taking shape. Leebaert's character-driven narrative shows such figures as Churchill, Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennan in an entirely new light, while unveiling players of at least equal weight on pivotal events. Little unfolded as historians believe: the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan; the Korean War; America's descent into Vietnam. Instead, we see nonstop U.S. improvisation until America finally lost all caution and embraced obligations worldwide, a burden we bear today. Understanding all of this properly is vital to understanding the rise and fall of superpowers, why we're now skeptical of commitments overseas, how the Middle East plunged into disorder, why Europe is fracturing, what China intends-and the ongoing perils to the U.S. world role.

Derek Leebaert is the author of Magic and Mayhem: The Delusions of American Foreign Policy, The Fifty-Year Wound: How America's Cold War Victory Shapes Our World, and To Dare and to Conquer: Special Operations and the Destiny of Nations, and the coauthor of MIT Press's trilogy on the information technology revolution. He runs a global management consulting firm and is a former Smithsonian Fellow, as well as a founding editor of the Harvard/MIT journal International Security . He has taught at Georgetown University and is also a founder of the National Museum of the U.S. Army. He lives in Connecticut and Washington, D.C.

Praise for Magic and Mayhem "Derek Leebaert artfully portrays the many grand delusions about America's role in the world that have arisen from a heady brew of magical thinking going back generations. Leebaert writes with exceptional verve and his book is a real pleasure to read." -Peter Bergen, CNN national security analyst and author of Holy War, Inc .

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