Of Paradise and Power: Book summary and reviews of Of Paradise and Power by Robert Kagan

Of Paradise and Power

America and Europe in the New World Order

By Robert Kagan

Of Paradise and Power
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2003,
    112 pages.

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Book Summary

From a leading scholar of our country's foreign policy, the brilliant essay about America and the world that has caused a storm in international circles now expanded into book form.

European leaders, increasingly disturbed by U.S. policy and actions abroad, feel they are headed for what the New York Times (July 21, 2002) describes as a 'moment of truth.' After years of mutual resentment and tension, there is a sudden recognition that the real interests of America and its allies are diverging sharply and that the trans-Atlantic relationship itself has changed, possibly irreversibly. Europe sees the United States as high-handed, unilateralist, and unnecessarily belligerent; the United States sees Europe as spent, unserious, and weak. The anger and mistrust on both sides are hardening into incomprehension.

This past summer, in Policy Review, Robert Kagan reached incisively into this impasse to force both sides to see themselves through the eyes of the other. Tracing the widely differing histories of Europe and America since the end of World War II, he makes clear how for one the need to escape a bloody past has led to a new set of transnational beliefs about power and threat, while the other has perforce evolved into the guarantor of that 'postmodern paradise' by dint of its might and global reach. This remarkable analysis is being discussed from Washington to Paris to Tokyo. It is essential reading.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Cogent and important best describe this slim book, its lack of vast pages belying the weightiness of its message." - Booklist.

"No academic piece in this realm has generated quite as much heat and interest since Samuel Huntington's Clash of Civilizations article in 1993 or Francis Fukuyama's ‘End of History' in 1989." - New York Times.

"The most controversial big-think essay of the season." - U.S. News + World Report.

"Come the hour, come the book . . . Kagan's book is neither a diatribe nor a polemic. It is a penetrating effort to shed some light on the confusion in transatlantic affairs and to understand why Americans and Europeans are so frequently talking past each other . . . As an effort to crystallise an important moment in history and to provoke a fuller comprehension of contemporary international relations, Of Paradise and Power ranks with Frank Fukuyama's The End of History and Sam Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations." - The Times (London).

"His essay [has] the foreign policy establishment humming from Washington to Tokyo - Lorraine Adams, The Washington Post.

"Bob Kagan's provocative and thoughtful essay is required reading for everyone concerned about the future of trans-Atlantic relations. Ever controversial, Kagan's critical contribution to understanding American and European views of world order will be discussed and debated for years to come. Although not everyone will agree with Kagan's analysis, readers will benefit from its clarity, insight, and historical force." - Senator John McCain.

"Though in the past we have often disagreed, I consider this essay one of those seminal treatises without which any discussion of European-American relations would be incomplete and which will shape that discussion for years to come." -Dr. Henry Kissinger.

"Anyone looking for an intellectual primer to explain the geopolitical forces at work in the Iraqi conflict should order a copy of Robert Kagan's book, Of Paradise and Power." - Sunday Telegraph.

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Author Information

Robert Kagan Author Biography

Photo: Claudio Vazquez

Robert Kagan is senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund, and a columnist for The Washington Post (he writes a monthly column on international affairs).  He is also a contributing editor at the Weekly Standard and the New Republic.  He served in the U.S. State Department from 1984 to 1988 as a member of the Policy Planning Staff, as a principal speechwriter for Secretary of State George P. Shultz, and as deputy for policy in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs. 

He is the author of several books, including A Twilight Struggle: American Power and Nicaragua, 1977–1990, Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order (2003), which remained on the New York ...

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