UNDERSTANDING ANTI-AMERICANISM: Its Origins and Impact at Home and Abroad

Paul Hollander, Author, Paul Hollander, Editor . Ivan R. Dee $28.95 (378p) ISBN 978-1-56663-564-6

The essays collected here, by political scientists, foreign policy experts and other scholars, cast a skeptical eye on previous accounts of their subject, arguing that true anti-Americanism is an extreme hostility born of, in editor Hollander's words, "a deep-seated, emotional predisposition" to loathe the U.S. rather than one based on rational critique. With varying levels of persuasiveness, each essay isolates a different strand of anti-Americanism in its cultural context of origin. Anthony Daniels paints France as an anxious, judgmental, contradictory former colonial power, threatened by invasive "Anglo-Saxon" (read "American") culture and the English language. Michael Freund analyzes Germany's relation to the U.S. by making detailed reference to 19th- and 20th-century German philosophical thinkers. Patrick Clawson and Barry Rubin argue that Middle Eastern anti-Americanism is spawned more by the scapegoating tendencies of radical Arab nationalism than by U.S. foreign policy. David Brooks, Mark Falcoff and Walter D. Connor suggest a pattern of frustration, failure, bitterness, blame and envy in their essays on Nicaraguan, Cuban and Russian anti-Americanism. A final section on anti-Americanism at home scrutinizes the history of the U.S. Communist Party, Canadian and American feminists' purported moral relativism and anti-Americanism in U.S. popular culture. Because the collection emphasizes anti-Americanism as a vitriolic intellectual construction, some readers may find its tone overly defensive, particularly in relation to American foreign policy. Nevertheless, the sense of cultural contradictions and differing philosophical legacies that the collection conveys is enriching and allows anti-Americanism to be viewed less as a bundle of generalizations and more in terms of the cultural particularity of each country and region. (May 28)

Reviewed on: 05/03/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
Paperback - 380 pages - 978-1-56663-616-2
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