American methods of policy implementation and dispute resolution are more adversarial and legalistic when compared with the systems of other economically advanced countries. Americans more often rely on legal threats and lawsuits. American laws are generally more complicated and prescriptive, adjudication more costly, and penalties more severe. In a thoughtful and cogently argued book, Robert Kagan examines the origins and consequences of this system of "adversarial legalism."
Kagan describes the roots of adversarial legalism and the deep connections it has with American political institutions and values. He investigates its social costs as well as the extent to which lawyers perpetuate it. Ranging widely across many legal fields, including criminal law, environmental regulations, tort law, and social insurance programs, he provides comparisons with the legal and regulatory systems of western Europe, Canada, and Japan that point to possible alternatives to the American methods.
Kagan notes that while adversarial legalism has many virtues, its costs and unpredictability often alienate citizens from the law and frustrate the quest for justice. This insightful study deepens our understanding of law and its relationship to politics in America and raises valuable questions about the future of the American legal system.
In the first edition of this groundbreaking book, Robert Kagan explained why America is much more adversarial—likely to rely on legal threats and lawsuits—than other economically advanced countries, with more prescriptive laws, more costly adjudications, and more severe penalties. This updated edition also addresses the rise of the conservative legal movement and anti-statism in the Republican party, which have put in sharp relief the virtues of adversarial legalism in its ability to empower citizens, lawyers, and judges to mount challenges to the arbitrary or unlawful exercise of government authority.
“This is a wonderful piece of work, richly detailed and beautifully written. It is the best, sanest, and most comprehensive evaluation and critique of the American way of law that I have seen. Every serious scholar concerned with justice and efficiency, and every policymaker who is serious about improving the American legal order, should read this trenchant and exciting book.” —Lawrence Friedman, Stanford University
“A tour de force. It is an elegantly written, consistently insightful analysis and critique of the American emphasis on litigation and punitive sanctions in the policy and administrative process.” —Charles R. Epp, Law and Society Review
In The American Way of Peace, Jan S. Prybyla traces the implementation of an idea derived from bedrock American values that has shaped the American character from the nation’s beginning. The idea—simple, generous, optimistic, and effective—was and remains to give people realizable hope, an attainable dream, by creating a peaceful, secure, and materially comfortable world, a Pax Americana, the American Way of Peace.
In the period surveyed, beginning with the end of World War II, this objective was achieved through American initiative and with American leadership, despite resistance from Nazi barbarism, Soviet serfdom, and, more recently, Islamic extremist inhumanity. There has also been opposition from some of those in the western confines of Europe whom Pax Americana helped raise from the ashes to which they had been reduced.
The American Way of Peace examines the work of reconstruction, the enemy bombardment, as well as the hurtful sniping along the way by the beneficiaries of American support. Prybyla recommends a reevaluation of American relations with those to whom friendship is but a utilitarian device, in light of the present eruption of terrorism worldwide. The need for America to act wisely and resolutely in defense of civilized values, to stem the third tidal wave of terrorist savagery, and to venture where others fear to tread is more compelling now than it has been in the six decades past, for today America’s very survival as a force for immense good in the world is being put to the test.
In this daring reexamination of the connections between national politics and Hollywood movies, Lary May offers a fresh interpretation of American culture from the New Deal through the Cold War—one in which a populist, egalitarian ethos found itself eventually supplanted by a far different view of the nation.
"One of the best books ever written about the movies." —Tom Ryan, The Age
"The most exhilarating work of revisionist film history since Pauline Kael's Citizen Kane. . . . May's take on what movies once were (energizing, as opposed to enervating), and hence can become again, is enough to get you believing in them again as one of the regenerative forces America so sorely needs."—Jay Carr, Boston Globe
"A startling, revisionist history of Hollywood's impact on politics and American culture. . . . A convincing and important addition to American cultural criticism."—Publishers Weekly
"A controversial overview of 30 years of American film history; must reading for any serious student of the subject."—Choice
"A provocative social history of Hollywood's influence in American life from the 1930s to the 1950s. May argues persuasively that movies in the period offered a good deal of tough criticism of economic and social conditions in U.S. society. . . . May challenges us to engage in some serious rethinking about Hollywood's impact on American society in the middle of the twentieth century."—Robert Brent Toplin, American Historical Review
The Cold War was fought in every corner of society, including in the sport and entertainment industries. Recognizing the importance of culture in the battle for hearts and minds, the United States, like the Soviet Union, attempted to win the favor of citizens in nonaligned states through the soft power of sport. Athletes became de facto ambassadors of US interests, their wins and losses serving as emblems of broader efforts to shield American culture—both at home and abroad—against communism.
In Defending the American Way of Life, leading sport historians present new perspectives on high-profile issues in this era of sport history alongside research drawn from previously untapped archival sources to highlight the ways that sports influenced and were influenced by Cold War politics. Surveying the significance of sports in Cold War America through lenses of race, gender, diplomacy, cultural infiltration, anti-communist hysteria, doping, state intervention, and more, this collection illustrates how this conflict remains relevant to US sporting institutions, organizations, and ideologies today.
Winner of the 2014 North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS) Outstanding Book Award
The early Cold War (1947–1964) was a time of optimism in America. Flushed with confidence by the Second World War, many heralded the American Century and saw postwar affluence as proof that capitalism would solve want and poverty. Yet this period also filled people with anxiety. Beyond the specter of nuclear annihilation, the consumerism and affluence of capitalism’s success were seen as turning the sons of pioneers into couch potatoes.
In Discipline and Indulgence, Jeffrey Montez de Oca demonstrates how popular culture, especially college football, addressed capitalism’s contradictions by integrating men into the economy of the Cold War as workers, warriors, and consumers. In the dawning television age, college football provided a ritual and spectacle of the American way of life that anyone could participate in from the comfort of his own home. College football formed an ethical space of patriotic pageantry where men could produce themselves as citizens of the Cold War state. Based on a theoretically sophisticated analysis of Cold War media, Discipline and Indulgence assesses the period’s institutional linkage of sport, higher education, media, and militarism and finds the connections of contemporary sport media to today’s War on Terror.
The Magic Kingdom sheds new light on the cultural icon of "Uncle Walt." Watts digs deeply into Disney's private life, investigating his roles as husband, father, and brother and providing fresh insight into his peculiar psyche-his genuine folksiness and warmth, his domineering treatment of colleagues and friends, his deepest prejudices and passions. Full of colorful sketches of daily life at the Disney Studio and tales about the creation of Disneyland and Disney World, The Magic Kingdom offers a definitive view of one of the most influential Americans of the twentieth century.
Challenging several longstanding notions about the American way of war, this book examines US strategic and operational practice from 1775 to 2014. It surveys all major US wars from the War of Independence to the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as most smaller US conflicts to determine what patterns, if any, existed in American uses of force. Contrary to many popular sentiments, Echevarria finds that the American way of war is not astrategic, apolitical, or defined by the use of overwhelming force. Instead, the American way of war was driven more by political considerations than military ones, and the amount of force employed was rarely overwhelming or decisive.
As a scholar of Clausewitz, Echevarria borrows explicitly from the Prussian to describe the American way of war not only as an extension of US policy by other means, but also the continuation of US politics by those means. The book’s focus on strategic and operational practice closes the gap between critiques of American strategic thinking and analyses of US campaigns. Echevarria discovers that most conceptions of American strategic culture fail to hold up to scrutiny, and that US operational practice has been closer to military science than to military art.
Providing a fresh look at how America’s leaders have used military force historically and what that may mean for the future, this book should be of interest to military practitioners and policymakers, students and scholars of military history and security studies, and general readers interested in military history and the future of military power.
Strangers and Kin is the history of adoption, a quintessentially American institution in its buoyant optimism, generous spirit, and confidence in social engineering. An adoptive mother herself, Barbara Melosh tells the story of how married couples without children sought to care for and nurture other people's children as their own. It says much about the American experience of family across the twentieth century and our shifting notions of kinship and assimilation. Above all, it speaks of real people striving to make families out of strangers.
In the early twentieth century, childless adults confronted orphanages reluctant to entrust their wards to the kindness of strangers. By the 1930s, however, the recently formed profession of social work claimed a new expertise--the science and art of child placement--and adoption became codified in law. It flourished in the United States, reflecting our ethnic diversity, pluralist ideals, and pragmatic approach to family. Then, in the 1960s, as the sexual revolution reshaped marriage, motherhood, and women's work, adoption became a less attractive option and the number of adoptive families precipitously declined. Taking this history into the early twenty-first century, Melosh offers unflinching insight to the contemporary debates that swirl around adoption: the challenges to adoption secrecy; the ethics and geopolitics of international adoption; and the conflicts over transracial adoption.
This gripping history is told through poignant stories of individuals, garnered from case records long inaccessible to others, and captures the profound losses and joys that make adoption a lifelong process.
In this provocative study, Paul Atwood attempts to show Americans that their history is one of constant wars of aggression and imperial expansion.
In his long teaching career, Atwood has found that most students know virtually nothing about America's involvement in the wars of the 20th century, let alone those prior to World War I. War and Empire aims to correct this, clearly and persuasively explaining US actions in every major war since the declaration of independence. The book shows that, far from being dragged reluctantly into foreign entanglements, America's leaders have always picked its battles in order to increase their influence and power, with little regard for the American soldiers and 'enemy' civilians killed or made to suffer in the process.
This book is an eye-opening introduction to the American way of life for undergraduate students of American history, politics and international relations.