Arc of Empire: America's Wars in Asia from the Philippines to Vietnam

Arc of Empire: America's Wars in Asia from the Philippines to Vietnam

by Michael H. Hunt, Steven I. Levine
     
 

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Although conventionally treated as separate, America's four wars in Asia were actually phases in a sustained U.S. bid for regional dominance, according to Michael H. Hunt and Steven I. Levine. This effort unfolded as an imperial project in which military power and the imposition of America's political will were crucial. Devoting equal attention to Asian and

Overview

Although conventionally treated as separate, America's four wars in Asia were actually phases in a sustained U.S. bid for regional dominance, according to Michael H. Hunt and Steven I. Levine. This effort unfolded as an imperial project in which military power and the imposition of America's political will were crucial. Devoting equal attention to Asian and American perspectives, the authors follow the long arc of conflict across seventy-five years from the Philippines through Japan and Korea to Vietnam, tracing along the way American ambition, ascendance, and ultimate defeat. They show how these wars are etched deeply in eastern Asia's politics and culture.
The authors encourage readers to confront the imperial pattern in U.S. history with implications for today's Middle Eastern conflicts. They also offer a deeper understanding of China's rise and Asia's place in today's world.

For instructors: An Online Instructor's Manual is available, with teaching tips for using Arc of Empire in graduate and undergraduate courses on America's wars in Asia. It includes lecture topics, chronologies, and sample discussion questions.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A highly original and enlightening perspective that integrates a century of U.S. engagement with Japan, China, Korea, and Vietnam.—Diplomatic History

Hunt and Levine never forget to detail the devastating human cost of war, and they do so not just through statistics, but also through references to the lives of ordinary people.—History: Reviews of New Books

A valuable book that merits careful reading. . . . Will encourage readers to take a fresh look at wars usually treated in isolation.—Army History

Expertly delve[s] into sensitive topics such as imperialism and the atrocities during war. . . . Successfully aligns the four wars in Asia and American history, showing how these actions served as a continuation of empire building.—Journal of the North Carolina Association of Historians

Whether you are prone to agree or take issue with this book's controversial premise and conclusions, it is well worth reading.—Missoulian

Required reading for advanced students of modern US history, and therefore a necessary purchase for all academic libraries. Essential. Upper-division undergraduates and above.—Choice

[This] book should be illuminating and instructive to all who are concerned about U.S. overseas military involvement and its domestic and international ramifications.—H-Empire Reviews

Recommended for readers interested in current events and 20th-century history, especially military history and U.S.-Asia relations.—Library Journal

[Hunt and Levine] incorporate important information about "the other side," discuss the devastating impact military actions had on civilians, are not hesitant to reveal atrocious behavior, and examine how imperial rule worked out in practice. Popular culture references enliven the account.—American Historical Review

Library Journal
This is a history of four connected wars fought by the United States in eastern Asia between 1899 and 1973. From the Philippines to the Pacific theater of World War II to Korea to Vietnam, Hunt (history, emeritus, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) and Levine (history, Univ. of Montana) show how these wars were connected and the intricate ways that they influenced U.S. foreign policy as well as Asia's culture and politics. The basic premise of the book is that the United States entered these conflicts to spread an imperial doctrine in Asia and hoped to establish a strong foothold in the region politically and militarily. Although Hunt and Levine argue that the United States was ultimately unsuccessful, they explain that much of the effect of those wars can be seen today in China's increasing surge as a dominant world power. The authors highlight that the United States has a long history of such conflicts and that a similar situation may be happening with the current U.S. involvement in the Middle East. VERDICT Recommended for readers interested in current events and 20th-century history, especially military history and U.S.-Asia relations.—Jeremy Spencer, Univ. of California. Law Lib., Davis

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807835289
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
03/01/2012
Edition description:
1
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
This book is written with the support of the intellectual vision and accumulated knowledge of two of the world's most prominent scholars on the history of U.S.-East Asian relations. It provides an original, thoughtful, well-documented and readable 'grand narrative' about how America's empire-building drive in East Asia became connected with the wars in the Philippines, against Japan, in Korea and, then, Vietnam. The depth of the authors' analysis is greatly enhanced as they give keen attention to East Asia's diverse 'local' settings and conditions. Vividly and convincingly highlighted are the strengths and limits of 'American power' even when the United States was ascending to the zenith of its global dominance. Today, at the time that America's leadership role in the world is facing serious challenges, this is a study that neither specialists nor general readers can afford to ignore.—Chen Jian, Cornell University

Meet the Author

Michael H. Hunt is Emerson Professor of History Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author or editor of eleven books, including The American Ascendancy: How the United States Gained and Wielded Global Dominance and A Vietnam War Reader: A Documentary History from American and Vietnamese Perspectives.

Steven I. Levine is research faculty associate in the Department of History at the University of Montana and author or editor of four books, including Anvil of Victory: The Communist Revolution in Manchuria, 1945-1948 and America's Wars in Asia: A Cultural Approach to History and Memory.

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