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God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World


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A discussion of the evolution of religious certainty versus rational certainty and their relationship to each other and to tradition forms the core of Walter Russell Mead's (brilliant) new book God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World. I recommend it.

A good look at who we are as a nation, where we came from and where we are headed. I found the book to be optimistic in its assessment of the past and hopeful for the future. An excellent look at history. Particularly the interplay of religion and politics.

God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World (Hardcover)

by Walter Russell Mead (Author)



“Persuasively optimistic . . . he knows more theology and church than do most public intellectuals, and more Anglo-American history than do many of the more theologically learned; this makes for an interesting combination.”

-American Heritage

“Entertaining . . .”

-The Economist

“Walter Russell Mead has done it again. With his distinctive sweep and penetration, America's premier archeologist of ideas and their consequences unearths the cultural roots of large political movements and developments. Readers of this scintillating volume will see the modern world afresh.”

-George F. Will

"There are few works and fewer scholars who can skillfully bridge and interweave topics like history, economics, and foreign relations without any one of the three areas suffering. Mead is just such an author and this is just such a book.

Even more than his previous works, in this volume Mead manages to make linkages between these topics to present a remarkably fun, remarkably cohesive account of how Britain and later the United States, came to be the world's superpowers." Reader review

Product Description

An illuminating account of the birth and rise of the global political and economic system that, sustained first by Britain and now by America, created the modern world.

Walter Russell Mead, one of our most distinguished foreign policy experts, makes clear that the key to the predominance of the two countries has been the individualistic ideology of the prevailing Anglo-American religion. Mead explains how this helped create a culture uniquely adapted to capitalism, a system under which both countries thrived. We see how, as a result, the two nations were able to create the liberal, democratic system whose economic and social influence continues to grow around the world.

With wit, verve, and stunning insight, Mead recounts what is, in effect, the story of a centuries-long war between the English-speaking peoples and their enemies. Sustained by control of the oceans that surround them, the British and their American heirs built a global system of politics, power, investment, and trade over the past three hundred years. Along the way, the two nations developed a sophisticated grand strategy that brought the English-speaking powers to a pinnacle of global power and prestige unmatched in the history of the world.

Since Oliver Cromwell's day, the English-speakers have seen their enemies as haters of liberty and God who care nothing for morality, who will do anything to win, and who rely on a treacherous fifth column to assure victory. Those enemies, from Catholic Spain and Louis XIV to the Nazis, communists, and Al-Qaeda, held similar beliefs about their British and American rivals, but we see that though the Anglo-Americans have lost small wars here and there, they have won the major conflicts. So far.

The stakes today are higher than ever; technological progress makes new and terrible weapons easier for rogue states and terror groups to develop and deploy. Where some see an end to history and others a clash of civilizations, Mead sees the current conflicts in the Middle East as the latest challenge to the liberal, capitalist, and democratic world system that the Anglo-Americans are trying to build. What we need now, he says, is a diplomacy of civlizations based on a deeper understanding of the recurring conflicts between the liberal world system and its foes. In practice, this means that Americans generally, and especially the increasingly influential evangelical community, must develop a better sense of America's place in the world.

Mead's emphasis on the English-speaking world as the chief hero (and sometimes villain) in modern history changes the way we see the world. Authoritative and lucid, God and Gold weaves history, literature, philosophy, and religion together into an eminently important work—a dazzling book that helps us understand the world we live in and our tumultuous times.

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