The question at the heart of The Cousins' Wars is this: How did Anglo-America evolve over a mere three hundred years from a small Tudor kingdom into a global community with such a hegemonic grip on the world today, while no other European power—Spain, France, Germany, or Russia—did? The answer to this, according to Phillips, lies in a close examination of three internecine English-speaking civil wars—the English Civil War, the American Revolution, and the American Civil War. These wars between cousins functioned as crucial anvils on which various religious, ethnic, and political alliances were hammered out between the English-speaking cousin-nations, setting them on a unique two-track path toward world leadership—one aristocratic and aloof to dominate the imperial nineteenth century and the other more egalitarian and democratic to take over in the twentieth century. They also functioned as unfortunate and deadly cultural crucibles for African Americans, Native Americans, and the Irish.Phillips's analysis shows exactly how these conflicts are inextricably linked and how they seeded each other. He offers often surprising interpretations that cut across the political spectrum—for instance, that the Constitution of the United States, while brilliant in many respects, was also a fatally flawed political compromise that contributed mightily in setting the stage for the final—and the bloodiest—cousins' war: the American Civil War.With the new millennium upon us and triggering widespread assessment of our nation's place in world history, The Cousins' Wars provides just the kind of magisterial sweep and revisionist spark to ignite widespread interest and debate. This grand religious, military, and political epic is the multi-dimensional story of the triumph of Anglo-America.
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Political commentator Kevin Phillips (author of the 1991 bestseller The Politics of Rich and Poor) takes a break from analyzing the latest election returns with this sweeping history of Anglo-American exceptionalism. How did the political culture of Anglo-America rise "from a small Tudor kingdom to a global community and world hegemony"? asks Phillips. His answer comes in the course of studying three wars--the English Civil War, the American Revolution, and the U.S. Civil War. Phillips does not examine the military history of these conflicts, looking instead at the political, religious, economic, and sectional interests that shaped them. He makes several eye-opening observations, comparing, for instance, a "state-by-state portrait of which counties, towns, districts, or regions were loyal" during the American Revolution to "ethnoreligious maps of the modern-day Balkans." This is a hefty book (over 600 pages, not including appendices and footnotes), and while Phillips's preface is a bit self-absorbed, admirers of David Landes's The Wealth and Poverty of Nations and Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel will find much to like between its covers. --John J. MillerFrom the Publisher:
Praise for this title
"This is an elegant and provocative book...Phillips not only seeks out the religious foundations of political differences but finds an underlying Anglo-America that has not only endured despite these wars but has decisively reshaped the modern world. Not everyone will agree with everything Phillips says, but he does offer a bold synthesis that ought to stimulate public debate while it helps to enlighten us all." --John M. Murrin, Professor of History, Princeton University
"Kevin Phillips has written a remarkable book, tracing subterranean psychological and spiritual connections across decades of peace and war that most historians have ignored. His insights on the religious undercurrents of the American Revolution are particularly striking." --Tom Fleming, author of Liberty: The American Revolution
"If international politics on planet earth really is about 'the clash of cultures,' then Kevin Phillips has just told the story of the winner." --Byron E. Shafer, Andrew Mellon Professor of American Government, Oxford University
"The Cousins Wars is an exciting review of Anglo-America in the making." --Walter Dean Burnham, Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Centennial Chair and State Government, University of Texas at Austin
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