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Patterns of Empire
The British and American Empires, 1688 to the Present

$29.99 (P)

  • Date Published: September 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107600782

$29.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • Patterns of Empire comprehensively examines the two most powerful empires in modern history: the United States and Britain. Challenging the popular theory that the American empire is unique, Patterns of Empire shows how the policies, practices, forms, and historical dynamics of the American empire repeat those of the British, leading up to the present climate of economic decline, treacherous intervention in the Middle East, and overextended imperial confidence. A critical exercise in revisionist history and comparative social science, this book also offers a challenging theory of empire that recognizes the agency of non-Western peoples, the impact of global fields, and the limits of imperial power.

    • With America's ventures in the Middle East, talk of 'The American Empire' has surfaced. This book explores American imperialism
    • Shows the many comparisons between the American Empire and the British Empire
    • Demonstrates how imperial history repeats itself over centuries
    Read more


    • Winner of the 2014 Francesco Guicciardini Prize for Best Book in Historical International Relations, International Studies Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    "Rigorously thought out, lucidly written, and empirically insightful, Julian Go’s work dispatches arguments that the United States has not been an empire and sets out convincingly the changing nature of that empire. Far from being just a demonstration of what ought to have been obvious before now – the role of empire in American history – Go advances our understanding of the trajectory of empire and informs contemporary debates about the future of the United States and its global hegemony. This is a stunning application of transnational and comparative methods of analysis."
    Ian Tyrrell, Scientia Professor of History, University of New South Wales

    "Julian Go’s book is, simply, in a different league from almost all previous work in the field. Combining close historical analysis with conceptual rigor, joining the skills and strengths of the historian with those of the social scientist, this is a project of striking originality."
    Stephen Howe, University of Bristol

    "In Patterns of Empire, Go compares the development of, and modes of rule in, the British and American empires."
    Clara Altman, H-Empire

    "… an important, boldly presented study that deserves a wide readership."
    Jay Sexton, The Journal of American History

    "Patterns of Empire is fascinating and enlightening reading that expands our comprehension of world history and has important implications for the current global situation."
    Christopher Chase-Dunn, American Journal of Sociology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107600782
    • length: 304 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 156 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.47kg
    • contains: 11 b/w illus. 1 map 9 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Imperial paths to power
    2. Colonial rules
    3. Hegemonies and empires
    4. Imperial forms, global fields
    5. Weary titans: declining powers, new imperialism
    6. The dynamics of imperialism.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • America and the World ll
    • American Empire, Migration, and the Creation of Asian Americans
    • History of Latinos in the United States
    • History of the British Empire
    • Oceans and Empires
    • The British Empire
    • US Imperialism
  • Author

    Julian Go, Boston University
    Julian Go is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Boston University. He is also a Faculty Affiliate in Asian Studies and New England and American Studies at Boston University. He is editor of the journal Political Power and Social Theory. He is a former Academy Scholar at Harvard University's Academy for International and Area Studies. His first book, American Empire and the Politics of Meaning, won the Mary Douglas Prize for Best Book from the American Sociological Association and was a finalist for a Philippines National Book Award. His other books include The American Colonial State in the Philippines: Global Perspectives, which he co-edited and More American Than We Admit: The Influence of American Culture on the Philippines, which he edited.

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