Having reported on some of the world's most violent, least understood regions in his bestsellers Balkan Ghosts and The Ends of the Earth, Robert Kaplan now returns to his native land, the United States of America. Traveling, like Tocqueville and John Gunther before him, through a political and cultural landscape in transition, Kaplan reveals a nation shedding a familiar identity as it assumes a radically new one.
Reseña del editor:
An Empire Wilderness opens in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where the first white settlers moved into Indian country and where Manifest Destiny was born. In a world whose future conflicts can barely be imagined, it is also the place where the army trains its men to fight the next war. "A nostalgic view of the United States is deliberately cultivated here," Kaplan writes, "as if to bind the uncertain future to a reliable past."
From Fort Leavenworth, Kaplan travels west to the great cities of the heartland--to St. Louis, once a glorious shipping center expected to outshine imperial Rome and now touted, with its desolate inner city and miles of suburban gated communities, as "the most average American city." Kaplan continues west to Omaha; down through California; north from Mexico, across Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas; up to Montana and Canada, and back through Oregon.
He visits Mexican border settlements and dust-blown county sheriffs' offices, Indian reservations and nuclear bomb plants, cattle ranches in the Oklahoma Panhandle, glacier-mantled forests in the Pacific Northwest, swanky postsuburban sprawls and grim bus terminals, and comes, at last, to the great battlefield at Vicksburg, Mississippi, where an earlier generation of Americans gave their lives for their vision of an American future. But what, if anything, he asks, will today's Americans fight and die for?
At Vicksburg Kaplan contemplates the new America through which he has just traveled--an America of sharply polarized communities that draws its population from pools of talent far beyond its borders; an America where the distance between winners and losers grows exponentially as corporations assume gov-ernment functions and the wealthy find themselves more closely linked to their business associates in India and China than to their poorer neighbors a few miles away; an America where old loyalties and allegiances are vanishing and new ones are only beginning to emerge. The new America he found is in the pages of this book. Kaplan gives a precise and chilling vision of how the most successful nation the world has ever known is entering the final, and highly uncertain, phase of its history.
a sneak preview
"AN EMPIRE WILDERNESS contains a very large number of new insights, startling observations, and provocative suggestions. The term "fresh look" has become somewhat of a cliche, but even those who disagree with some of the conclusions in this book will find that it fully deserves this characterization. No rehashing here of yesterday's editorials. A true original." -- Amitai Etzioni
"The finest foreign correspondent of his generation turns his eye and ear to his own country. Kaplan's tour of the American West is a tour de force of journalism and a provocation to anyone wondering where America's future is coming from and where it is going." -- H.W. Brands
"A brilliant and insightful writer whose ability to see the world as it is, not as he'd like it to be, has made him one of the most prescient chroniclers of our time." -- Wade Davis, Vancouver Sun
"Like Fukuyama, Kaplan is a broad-brush thinker whose large, provocative ideas serve as a spur to debate." -- Bruce Clark, Financial Times
"When you look at the long-run trends that are going on around the world -- you read articles like Robert Kaplan's article in the Atlantic a couple of months ago -- you could visualize a world in which a few million of us live in such opulence we could be starring on nighttime soaps. And the rest of us look like we're in one of those Mel Gibson Road Warrior movies. I was so gripped by the many things that were in that article... And I keep trying to imagine what it's going to be like to bring children into this world in this country." -- President Clinton
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