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The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers by…

The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (1987)

by Paul Kennedy

Other authors: Jean-Paul Tremblay (Maps)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Recently added byFloyd3345, TonyVP, rsaouma, Richard71, vhl219, Bart_Leahy, DuncanHill, gabe5525, Biblio-JManuel, private library
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» See also 34 mentions

English (13)  Dutch (2)  All languages (15)
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The internal political system of the United states, or of any other nation for that matter, is of little consequence to Paul Kennedy in his treatment of WWI. The rise and fall of the Great Powers with which he is concerned is based upon the waxing and waning of economic strength, the ultimate measure of which is the ability to fight and win a war. As David Kaiser pointed out in his review of the book, Kennedy is less concerned about why nations go to war than the impact wars have on the constellation of powers which make up the international system. The success of Kennedy's book is testimony to the continued relevance of a traditional approach to international relations.

Few could dispute Kennedy's assertion that in the final analysis, American financial interests made intervention on behalf of the Allies a nearly foregone conclusion. American entry into WWI tipped the overall balance of economic strength heavily in favor of the Allies. He stresses the time lag in American mobilization as a factor in the duration of the conflict, but does not decry America's belated entry or its crusade to flmake the world safe for democracy." Once again, he is interested in mechanics rather than intention.

Unlike Kennan, he deals with WWI in and of itself rather than as a prelude to the rise of totalitarianism. This does not mean that Kennedy's view of WWI is presented without a larger interpretive framework, however. Of all the cases which fit into his scenario of Great Power status being based upon the ability to finance a successful war, WWI certainly provides the least contestable example. The rising Great Powers of Germany and America clashed in this conflict, and America's greater productive capacity,

This book too must be seen within the context of the Co1d War, in Kenndy's case the late Cold War. Kennedy's ultimate conclusion that America in the late 1980s is a Great Power in decline evoked great popular controversy. "Imperial overstretch or the excessive commitment of economic resources to military needs, is the root cause of America's decline according to Kennedy. This message found many adherents at the closing of the Cold War, just as did Kennan's at its outset. One suspects, however, that due to the ponderous statistical baggage of Kennedy's analysis more people actually read Kennan than Kennedy. The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers is not an easy read.
  mdobe | Jan 13, 2018 |
A tour de force analysis of the last 500 years of power struggles, lessened only slightly by the decision to subtitle the book 1500 to 2000 when it was released in 1989, which meant that predictions made 10 minutes before the landscape changed with the collapse of USSR in 1990 rather spoiled the polish at the end! But great book and wonderfully thought provoking.
Read in Samoa Sept 2002 ( )
1 vote mbmackay | Nov 27, 2015 |
I have been reading this at the same time I have been reading a very critical a book about the CIA ( )
  carterchristian1 | Feb 23, 2015 |
As relavant today as it was 25 years ago. A great insight into the history of nations and the evolution/devolution that gives them a constantly changing among the other nations of the world. ( )
1 vote DougJ110 | May 4, 2014 |
Though this book seems to be pretty strongly associated with the 1980s fear of Japanese ascendancy, it's historical analysis of the economic & strategic underpinnings of the world powers is fascinating and pretty well-written. And this isn't the sort of book you need to agree with--the perspective it provides is the point, not its predictions or prescriptions. ( )
1 vote ehines | Feb 6, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paul Kennedyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Tremblay, Jean-PaulMapssecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cellino, AndreaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Migone, Gian GiacomoPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Nell'anno 1500, data scelta da molti studiosi come punto di demarcazione tra le epoche pre-moderna e moderna, gli abitanti dell'Europa non avrebbero mai immaginato che il loro continente fosse destinato a dominare gran parte del mondo restante.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679720197, Paperback)

About national and international power in the "modern" or Post Renaissance period. Explains how the various powers have risen and fallen over the 5 centuries since the formation of the "new monarchies" in W. Europe.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:06 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Examines the relationship of economic to military power as it affects the rise and fall of empires.

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