The Dominion of War

The Dominion of War : Empire and Liberty in North America, 1500-2000

4.09 (109 ratings by Goodreads)
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Americans often think of their nation’s history as a movement toward ever-greater democracy, equality, and freedom. Wars in this story are understood both as necessary to defend those values and as exceptions to the rule of peaceful progress. In The Dominion of War, historians Fred Anderson and Andrew Cayton boldly reinterpret the development of the United States, arguing instead that war has played a leading role in shaping North America from the sixteenth century to the present.

Anderson and Cayton bring their sweeping narrative to life by structuring it around the lives of eight men—Samuel de Champlain, William Penn, George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Ulysses S. Grant, Douglas MacArthur, and Colin Powell. This approach enables them to describe great events in concrete terms and to illuminate critical connections between often-forgotten imperial conflicts, such as the Seven Years’ War and the Mexican-American War, and better-known events such as the War of Independence and the Civil War. The result is a provocative, highly readable account of the ways in which republic and empire have coexisted in American history as two faces of the same coin. The Dominion of War recasts familiar triumphs as tragedies, proposes an unconventional set of turning points, and depicts imperialism and republicanism as inseparable influences in a pattern of development in which war and freedom have long been intertwined.   It offers a new perspective on America’s attempts to define its role in the world at the dawn of the twenty-first century.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 520 pages
  • 142 x 213 x 25mm | 413g
  • United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 0143036513
  • 9780143036517
  • 1,832,025

Table of contents



A View in Winterix

Champlain’s Legacy: The Transformation of
Seventeenth-Century North America 1

Penn’s Bargain: The Paradoxes of Peaceable Imperialism 54

Washington’s Apprenticeship: Imperial
Victory and Collapse 104

Washington’s Mission: The Making of an
Imperial Republic 160

Jackson’s Vision: Creating a Populist Empire 207

Santa Anna’s Honor: Continental Counterpoint in
Republican Mexico 247

Grant’s Duty: Imperial War and Its Consequences Redux 274

MacArthur’s Inheritance: Liberty and Empire
in the Age of Intervention 317

MacArthur’s Valedictory: Lessons Learned, Lessons Forgotten 361

Powell’s Promise 409



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Review quote

"An imaginative retelling of American history from the point of view of empire and war by two very talented historians." —Gordon S. Wood, author of The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin

"A must read... Anderson and Cayton take off the blinders and show us what the past is really like." —Vine Deloria, Jr., author of Custer Died for Your Sins

"This sweeping reinterpretation places war and empire where they should be - not as exceptions to the American past, but as central to it, and therefore to the United States today." —Michael Sherry, author of In the Shadows of War: The United States Since the 1930s

"The most important book ever written on the connection between war and American expansion.  It should be required reading for our political leaders today..." —Don Higginbotham, author of The War of American Independence

"History in an ironic key, timely and provocative." —Kirkus Reviews
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About Fred Anderson

Fred Anderson is professor of history at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is the author of several books, including Crucible of War, which won the Francis Parkman and Mark Lynton prizes.

Andrew Cayton, distinguished professor of history at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, is the author or editor of eight books, including Frontier Indiana and Ohio: The History of a People.
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Rating details

109 ratings
4.09 out of 5 stars
5 35% (38)
4 44% (48)
3 17% (19)
2 3% (3)
1 1% (1)
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