Like his National Book Award—winning United States, Gore Vidal’s scintillating ninth collection, The Last Empire, affirms his reputation as our most provocative critic and observer of the modern American scene. In the essays collected here, Vidal brings his keen intellect, experience, and razor-edged wit to bear on an astonishing range of subjects. From his celebrated profiles of Clare Boothe Luce and Charles Lindbergh and his controversial essay about the Bill of Rights–which sparked an extended correspondence with convicted Oklahoma City Bomber Timothy McVeigh–to his provocative analyses of literary icons such as John Updike and Mark Twain and his trenchant observations about terrorism, civil liberties, the CIA, Al Gore, Tony Blair, and the Clintons, Vidal weaves a rich tapestry of personal anecdote, critical insight, and historical detail. Written between the first presidential campaign of Bill Clinton and the electoral crisis of 2000, The Last Empire is a sweeping coda to the last century’s conflicted vision of the American dream.
"A stirring account of an extraordinary moment." --Wall Street Journal On Christmas Day, 1991, President George H. W. Bush addressed the nation to celebrate what he described as a historic American victory: Mikhail Gorbachev's resignation as Soviet prime minister and the subsequent fall of the Soviet Union. The enshrining of that narrative, one in which the end of the Cold War was linked to the triumph of democratic values over communism, took center stage in American public discourse and has persisted for decades--with disastrous consequences for American standing in the world. As prize-winning historian Serhii Plokhy reveals in The Last Empire, the collapse of the Soviet Union was anything but the handiwork of the United States. Bush, in fact, was firmly committed to supporting Gorbachev as he attempted to hold together the USSR in the face of growing independence movements in its republics. Drawing on recently declassified documents and original interviews with key participants, Plokhy presents a bold new interpretation of the Soviet Union's final months, providing invaluable insight into the origins of the current Russian-Ukrainian conflict and the outset of the most dangerous crisis in East-West relations since the end of the Cold War.
The historical background, the present position, and the future prospects of both the non-Russian and Russian peoples are considered in their many aspects, as are the maneuvers of the Communist regime to suppress, appease, or make use of them. The future of the Soviet Union, and thus of the world, depends greatly on whether, and how, the Communist leadership, whose own ideology has lost most of its appeal, can adjust to a new surge of national feeling. The authors examine the question from many points of view, in a broad conspectus of political, cultural, economic, demographic, and other approaches.
This book is the result of a conference organised by the Contemporary Portuguese Political History Research Centre (CPHRC) and the University of Dundee that took place during September 2000. The purpose of this conference, and the resulting book, was to bring together various experts in the field to analyse and debate the process of Portuguese decolonisation, which was then 25 years old, and the effects of this on the Portuguese themselves. For over one century, the Portuguese state had defined its foreign policy on the basis of its vast empire – this was the root of its 'Atlanticist' vision. The outbreak of war of liberation in its African territories, which were prompted by the new international support for self determination in colonised territories, was a serious threat that undermined the very foundations of the Portuguese state. This book examines the nature of this threat, how the Portuguese state initially attempted to overcome it by force, and how new pressures within Portuguese society were given space to emerge as a consequence of the colonial wars. This is the first book that takes a multidisciplinary look at both the causes and the consequences of Portuguese decolonisation – and is the only one that places the loss of Portugal's Eastern Empire in the context of the loss of its African Empire. Furthermore, it is the only English language book that relates the process of Portuguese decolonisation with the search for a new Portuguese vision of its place in the world. This book is intended for anyone who is interested in regime change, decolonisation, political revolutions and the growth and development of the European Union. It will also be useful for those who are interested in contemporary developments in civil society and state ideologies. Given that a large part of the book is dedicated to the process of change in the various countries of the former Portuguese Empire, it will also be of interest to students of Africa. It will be useful to those who study decolonisation processes within the other former European Empires, as it provides comparative detail. The book will be most useful to academic researchers and students of comparative politics and area studies.
"As part of the Gorgias Handbook Series, this book provides a political and military history of the Sasanian Empire in Late Antiquity (220s to 651 CE). The book takes the form of a narrative, which situates Sasanian Iran as a continental power between Rome and the world of the steppe nomad"--
"Timely corporate history--as exciting and poignant as any good tale of derring-do against great odds by all-too-flawed giants. " - Kirkus Reviews With a scholar's precision and a novelist's eye, Stefan Kanfer tells the inside story of De Beers Consolidated Mines - from the nineteenth century diamond rush that transformed Johannes De Beer's humble South African farm into an exotic klondike, to the Oppenheimers' shadow empire that has achieved umatched global reach.
A brilliant selection of virtually unknown and rare photographs of India taken between 1855 and 1911. Images include the work of early photographers and adventurers who first recorded the glories of the Himalayas, ancient archeological wonders and the picturesque façade of the British Raj in the subcontinent. This collection represents British views of a land that held romantic and exotic place in the western imagination.