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A new understanding of the post World War II era, showing what occurred when the British Empire wouldn't step aside for the rising American superpower -- with global insights for today.An enduring myth of the twentieth century is that the United States rapidly became a superpower in the years after World War II, when the British Empire -- the greatest in history -- was too wounded to maintain a global presence. In fact, Derek Leebaert argues in Grand Improvisation, the idea that a traditionally insular United States suddenly transformed itself into the leader of the free world is illusory, as is the notion that the British colossus was compelled to retreat. The United States and the U.K. had a dozen abrasive years until Washington issued a "declaration of independence" from British influence.

About the Author

Derek Leebaert

Derek Leebaert, who has taught foreign policy at Georgetown University for fifteen years, is a partner in the Swiss management consulting firm, MAP AG. His previous books include The Fifty-Year Wound: How America's Cold War Victory Shapes Our World (2002) and To Dare and to Conquer: Special Operations and the Destiny of Nations from Achilles to Al Qaeda (2006). He is also a coauthor of the MIT Press trilogy on the information technology revolution, and a founding editor of International Security and The International Economy, as well as editorial board member of European Security. He served in the US Marine Corps Reserve and is a director of the U.S. Army Historical Foundation, Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C., and of other public service institutions.===========================Advance Praise forMagic and Mayhem"A great book. It not only makes a powerful case but it is thoroughly entertaining, brimming with colorful anecdotes and wonderful portraits. It is a joy to read!"--Liaquat Ahamed, author Lords of Finance"A brilliant, blistering indictment of the quackery that passes for statecraft in Washington and of the glib, opinionated mediocrities inhabiting the inner circles of American power."-- Andrew J. Bacevich, author of Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War"Derek Leebaert artfully portrays the many grand delusions about America's role in the world that have arisen from a heady brew of magical thinking going back generations. Leebaert writes with exceptional verve and his book is a real pleasure to read."--Peter Bergen, CNN national security analyst and author of Holy War, Inc."People of left and right will find much insight in this expose of the national security magicians and their delusions, fantasies, pretenses and misuses of history. Leebaert gives us not the usual fairy godmother list of solutions, but some basic advice grounded in playing to our country's strengths. Hear him!"--John F. Lehman, former Secretary of the Navy and member of the 9/11 Commission"Leebaert provides a superb story of America's global engagements and of the 'magic' that caused various ones to go astray. Here is also superb insight as to how our nation should capitalize on her strengths while we come to better understand our vulnerabilities."--General John H. Tilelli, Jr., USA (Ret), former Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, and Commander, U.S. Army Forces Command"This book is a bombshell."--Walter A. McDougall, Alloy-Ansin Professor of International Relations, University of Pennsylvania, author of Promised Land, Crusader State"Why do national security professionals, despite all evidence, keep promising quick and nearly bloodless victory when committing U.S. forces overseas? The answers are chilling. Anyone concerned about how America decides to go to war must read Magic and Mayhem."--F. Whitten Peters, former Secretary of the Air Force; member, Def

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