• The Limits of Power

  • The End of American Exceptionalism
  • By: Andrew J. Bacevich
  • Narrated by: Eric Conger
  • Length: 5 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 04-09-2008
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.0 (1 rating)

Publisher's Summary

From an acclaimed conservative historian and former military officer, a bracing call for a pragmatic confrontation with the nation's problems. The Limits of Power identifies a profound triple crisis facing America: the economy, in remarkable disarray, can no longer be fixed by relying on expansion abroad; the government, transformed by an imperial presidency, is a democracy in form only; U.S. involvement in endless wars, driven by a deep infatuation with military power, has been a catastrophe for the body politic.
These pressing problems threaten all of us, Republicans and Democrats. If the nation is to solve its predicament, it will need the revival of a distinctly American approach: the neglected tradition of realism.
Andrew J. Bacevich, uniquely respected across the political spectrum, offers a historical perspective on the illusions that have governed American policy since 1945. The realism he proposes includes respect for power and its limits; sensitivity to unintended consequences; aversion to claims of exceptionalism; skepticism of easy solutions, especially those involving force; and a conviction that the books will have to balance. Only a return to such principles, Bacevich argues, can provide common ground for fixing America's urgent problems before the damage becomes irreparable.
©2008 Andrew Bacevich (P)2008 Macmillan Audio
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Critic Reviews

"Crisp prose, sweeping historical analysis and searing observations on the roots of American decadence elevate this book from mere scolding to an urgent call for rational thinking and measured action, for citizens to wise up and put their house in order." ( Publishers Weekly)
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Regular price: $34.72

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Nathan T on 03-11-2009

Tired of the noise?

Bacevich argues there are three crises facing America today, economic, political and military. As self-contained as each of these crises may seem on the surface Bacevich succinctly reveals how they are in fact very interconnected and reinforcing of each other. While the crises are the stated focus of the book it's clear that "values" are the driving force behind their analysis. The values Bacevich champions are simply pragmatism and a willingness to see things for what they are, rather than for what we may wish, or need, them to be. Amusingly, Bacevich has been labeled a "fake" Republican by a number of closet Bush Administration apologists, but that's to be expected I guess. Bacevich spares neither Democrat or Republican administrations, the historic records of which he easily reveals to be far more similar than different. Perhaps the most damning of Bacevich's entreaties for a return to common sense, and a restoration of the concept of civic duty, falls upon the common citizen. He points out the disconnect from reality that many of us display by not living within our means and how frighteningly similar this mentality mirrors the underlying structure of our entire economy (it's worth noting he wrote this before the recent collapse). Despite being against the Iraq War from the beginning he smolders at the percentage of citizen to soldier, the unfairness of the few enduring multiple deployments while those able but unwilling to serve refuse to force it's end. And he ultimately holds us accountable for abetting many of our politicians in their corruption and abuse of the political system, by inaction, indifference, or both. I would recommend buying the actual book - I bought a second copy for family and friends (a broad mixture of political stripes) and all of us found common ground, more similarities than differences.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Matteo on 27-04-2009

important listening

I find it very important to take apart important current affair issues and deconstruct them on historical and common sense pragmatism. The Limits of Power looks at the increasing power of the Executive Office since FDR and warns us all that this increasing power poses a great danger to American democracy. Using the Carter and G.W. Bush administrations as cases in point, Bacevich shows how different Presidential failures have used their powers in different ways and each have shown the limits and excesses of power concentration in the Executive branch.

While this book can be considered an accurate deconstruction of the Bush administration's failures in the Second Gulf War, it would be short-sided to limit the message of the book as a social critique of the Second Gulf War (albeit he does a great job of doing this as well).

This audiobook is a must for any person, left or right, who loves American democracy,

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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