Empires Apart: A History of American and Russian Imperialism

Empires Apart: A History of American and Russian Imperialism

Language: English

Pages: 576

ISBN: 1605981060

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A fresh, commanding, and thought-provoking narrative history of the competing Russian and American empires.

The American road to empire started when the first English settlers landed in Virginia. Simultaneously, the first Russians crossed the Urals and the two empires that would dominate the twentieth century were born. Empires Apart covers the history of the Americans and Russians from the Vikings to the present day. It shows the two empires developed in parallel as they expanded to the Pacific and launched wars against the nations around them. They both developed an imperial 'ideology' that was central to the way they perceived themselves.

Soon after, the ideology of the Russian Empire also changed with the advent of Communism. The key argument of this book is that these changes did not alter the core imperial values of either nation; both Russians and Americans continued to believe in their manifest destiny. Corporatist and Communist imperialism changed only the mechanics of empire. Both nations have shown that they are still willing to use military force and clandestine intrigue to enforce imperial control. Uniquely, Landers shows how the broad sweep of American history follows a consistent path from the first settlers to the present day and, by comparing this with Russia's imperial path, demonstrates the true nature of American global ambitions.

12 black-and-white illustrations

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Elysée to Coca-Cola cans littering shanty towns across the world. From the carrots of McDonalds (a somewhat unlikely image) to the sticks of the marines America’s presence was felt across the globe. If the period between the two world wars is examined in isolation, talking about an American ‘empire’ might seem odd, but the use of such an emotive word emphasises the essential continuity of American historical development, just as its use in the Russian context emphasises the continuity between

necessary directly intervening in the politics of nations around the globe. All these are activities that America’s critics describe as ‘imperialist’, but they are only the superficial manifestations of a much deeper ideological ‘empire’ created by the relentless, and quite innocent, ideological indoctrination carried out as the values of American institutions and corporations are transferred to the rest of the world. The distinguishing characteristic of the more controversial and informal

captured and then ceremonially hanged. Among the seven was the tribal shaman, to whom the Puritans took particular exception. His head was cut off and mounted on top of the fort at Plymouth to demonstrate to the world whose God was the true God. The next year Governor Bradford was able to gather the Pilgrims for the first real Thanksgiving. (This is the same Governor Bradford who described the natives as barbarous, treacherous savages, and fifteen years later was glorying in natives ‘frying in

gospell & the very vitalls of Christianitie’. On 19 October 1659 Mary Dyer, Marmaduke Stephenson and William Robinson were ‘convicted for Quakers’ in Massachusetts and led to the gallows with ropes around their necks. Stephenson and Robinson were duly hanged, but Mary Dyer was spared after pleas from the governors of Connecticut and Nova Scotia. Dyer, however, refused to be banished. On 1 June 1660 she was led to the gallows once again and this time was dispatched to her maker. (Unlike Europe the

by Vikings on the rivers of their new domain. In 1157 another Viking king invaded Finland, but by then the Vikings were no longer pagan barbarians. A mysterious Scottish bishop named Henry accompanied King Erik Jedwardson and, by judicious use of his patron’s sword, converted the Finns to Christianity. At the same time King Erik brought the Finns firmly into Sweden’s orbit, so that when, at the end of the sixteenth century, the Finns found themselves once again under attack from the Slavs, this

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