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The Ghost at the Feast

Best Seller
The Ghost at the Feast by Robert Kagan
Hardcover $35.00
Jan 10, 2023 | ISBN 9780307262943

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  • Jan 16, 2024 | ISBN 9781400095681

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  • Jan 10, 2023 | ISBN 9780307262943

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  • Jan 10, 2023 | ISBN 9780593535196

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Praise

“To succeed in its foreign policy, a nation needs history and self perception. With extraordinary range and research, Robert Kagan has illuminated America’s quest to reconcile its new power with its historical purpose in world order in the early twentieth century. The Ghost at the Feast will influence America’s self-perception for years to come with its lucid analyses and thoughtful perspectives.”
—Dr. Henry Kissinger

“A professional historian’s product through and through, sharply focused on its period and supported by amazingly detailed endnotes….Probably the most comprehensive, and most impressive, recent analysis we have of how Americans regarded the outside world and its own place in it during those four critical decades….Mr. Kagan recounts presidential decision-making and official actions in great detail, yet offers even greater analysis of the swirls of U.S. public opinion, the arguments of the press and pundits, the evidence in Gallup polls, and the ever-important actions of senators and congressmen.” 
—Paul Kennedy, The Wall Street Journal

“In a series of nimble polemics, and in expansive, finely wrought historical works, Kagan has spun variations on his theme: America’s unfolding purpose is to be the world’s organizing power, it owes this sense of mission to deeply ingrained American ideals, and the chief threat to this will-to-primacy comes not from without, but from within….Staggering…Kagan succeeds brilliantly in calling up the emotional temperature of the period.”
—Thomas Meaney, The New York Times

“In his judicious, vibrant The Ghost at the Feast…Robert Kagan excavates the transformational early decades of the 20th century and the nation’s rocky emergence onto the global stage….A briskly written, engaging tutorial at a moment when foreign policy has again run aground in the shallow waters of our self-absorption.”
—Hamilton Cain, StarTribune

“Gripping…Kagan is a fine writer and an indefatigable researcher….His book is the product of a monumental amount of work….I recommend it.” 
—Richard Cohen, Air Mail

“The Ghost at the Feast…sets the competing impulses in domestic politics — the instinct to stand back versus shining-city-on-the-hill internationalism — against the breakdown of the balance of power arrangements that had kept the global peace since the Congress of Vienna of 1814-15. The story is fluently told.”
—Philip Stephens, Financial Times

“Robert Kagan’s The Ghost at the Feast could not hit the bookshelves at a better time….Kagan’s second installment shows how the real wonder is not that the Americans joined the fight in 1917 and 1941 but rather that they entered the Cold War without having been directly attacked. If Kagan’s finale is anything like the trilogy’s first two installments, it will provoke, inform, and enliven our debates for years to come.”
—Mike Watson, Washington Examiner

“A deeply researched and exceptionally readable book about a period with which many Americans are, in practice, only cursorily familiar. Kagan offers a wealth of detail, nuance, and complexity, bringing this critical period in America’s rise to global leadership vividly to life.”
—Joshua C. Huminski, National Security Institute

“Kagan has produced a formidable work of synthesis and analysis based on prodigious reading and deep thinking. He adroitly places the evolution of U.S. policy in the context of developments in Europe and Asia, illuminating the challenges emanating from external events without losing sight of the domestic political context. His provocative conclusions will force scholars and students, policy makers and lay readers to reassess their understanding of America’s role in the international arena from the Spanish-American War to World War II.”
—Melvyn P. Leffler, Edward Stettinius Professor of History Emeritus, University of Virginia

“With a facility for clear and cogent prose, Kagan is determined to prove that, far from exemplifying an isolationist approach to world affairs long proclaimed by many scholars, Americans have gathered and deployed massive strength to shape the international system to their liking. And yet, in spite of this spirited pursuit of power, Americans have seldom been happy in its possession or comfortable in its use…Kagan’s treatment of the various motives underpinning America’s entry in the First World War is exemplary…The Ghost at the Feast is thus essential for statesmen who acknowledge American ambition without hypocrisy.” 
—Brian Stewart, Commentary

“Kagan’s book…offers an intelligent, knowledgeable, and surprisingly balanced view of the immense contradictions that fueled America’s rise….Kagan’s treatment of the ’30s is astute.”
—Daniel Lazare, The Arts Fuse

“A broad-ranging history of America’s early evolution as a world power…Kagan cogently examines what he considers certain inevitabilities (e.g., the attack on Pearl Harbor) while delivering novel interpretations of events….An insightful study of the birth of the American empire and the resulting ‘American century.'” 
Kirkus, starred review

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