Habits of Empire by Walter Nugent

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews



Since its founding, the United States' declared principles of liberty and democracy have often clashed with aggressive policies of imperial expansion. In this sweeping narrative history, acclaimed scholar Walter Nugent explores this fundamental American contradiction by recounting the story of American land acquisition since 1782 and shows how this steady addition of territory instilled in the American people a habit of empire-building.

From America's early expansions into Transappalachia and the Louisiana Purchase through later additions of Alaska and island protectorates in the Caribbean and Pacific, Nugent demonstrates that the history of American empire is a tale of shifting motives, as the early desire to annex land for a growing population gave way to securing strategic outposts for America's global economic and military interests.

Thorough, enlightening, and well-sourced, this book explains the deep roots of American imperialism as no other has done.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Walter Nugent

See more books from this Author
Walter Nugent taught history at the University of Notre Dame from 1984 to 1999, and before that, was Professor of History at Indiana University for twenty-one years. As a visiting professor he has also taught and lived in England, Israel, Germany, Poland, and Ireland. He has published nine previous books and well over a hundred essays and review on American and comparative history. He lives with his wife, the historian Suellen Hoy, in Chesteron, Indiana.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Published June 10, 2008 by Vintage. 416 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Habits of Empire

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

He contends that American expansionism today is without historical precedent, because the U.S. wields enormous power “without direct territorial absorption or even protectorate-like control.” A thorough, opinionated account of American diplomatic and military history, but not for the casual reader.

| Read Full Review of Habits of Empire

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

The biggest part of Empire II was Alaska, which became American for much the same reason that Louisiana had about 60 years earlier: a European empire wanted to be rid of it and didn’t want Britain to get it.

Jun 26 2008 | Read Full Review of Habits of Empire

Bookmarks Magazine

After 2001 and the start of the “war on terror, ” it became both defensive and assertive.

Acclaimed historian Walter Nugent shows how the United States, asserting republican virtue but employing imperial force, has long lived with the contradiction inherent in Jefferson’s famous phrase “em...

Jun 29 2008 | Read Full Review of Habits of Empire

Reader Rating for Habits of Empire

An aggregated and normalized score based on 10 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review