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Blood, Class and Empire: The Enduring Anglo-American Relationship
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Blood, Class and Empire: The Enduring Anglo-American Relationship

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  221 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Since the end of the Cold War so-called experts have been predicting the eclipse of America's "special relationship" with Britain. But as events have shown, especially in the wake of 9/11, the political and cultural ties between America and Britain have grown stronger. Blood, Class and Empire examines the dynamics of this relationship, its many cultural manifestations—the ...more
Paperback, 428 pages
Published March 19th 2004 by Nation Books (first published June 11th 1990)
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Finished! My gosh, this was crunchy. Hitchens covers the entire history from the founding of the United States through 1990, and of the United Kingdom during that time span, and assumes a certain amount of knowledge on the part of the reader. Which was very nice and not at all condescending and I've realized (without much surprise) I have some massive holes in my knowledge of both histories.

That said, despite my moments of confusion I found this a fascinating read. For one, Hitchens has a very
Andrew Robins
Interesting read, despite having been written almost a quarter of a century ago.

The story of British - American relations, and the "special relationship", which turns out not to be that special after all, unsurprisingly.

I read a review of this book on here which said that Hitchens makes the mistake of thinking the reader is as clever as he is.

In my case, that definitely wasn't the case, and I found myself scratching my head at some of the names and events he mentioned in passing, but even so,

Reading a (presumably) earlier version called _Blood, Class, & Nostalgia_. Hitchens is a little impressed with his own vocabulary prowess, has some axes to grind, and states opinions, or at least undocumented facts, as facts. The book is also rather dated. It's dealing with history, but was written in the 1980's, and seems to have been inspired at least in part by the Princess Di cult in the U.S. and the relationship between Thatcher and Reagan. Not a fun read, but it was thought-provoking
While not as provocative as some of his writing, I suspect this one will get some people's goat. In it he argues that the US-British relationship is far shabbier than we thought. On the one hand, the American upper class and its adherents see British class structures and Imperial grandeur as justification and guidance for their own attempts to create a New Rome. On the other, the British leadership sees the relationship as one that allows them to maintain a sense of undeserved greatness, all whi ...more
Todd Stockslager
Review title: The relative viscosity of blood and water
Hitchens is a well-known pundit and paradox, a serious thinker who inhabits the entertainment world of American cable news channels, who makes serious points with acerbic wit and erudite language (it is not many writers who use words that make me scramble as often to google the nuances of the meaning). And he is unmistakably British in character, looks, and voice. Perhaps, then he is not such a paradox at all.

"Blood" is a serious look at the
Christopher Hitchens' non-fiction prose is always a pleasure to read--even when I strenuously disagree with the assertions being offered. Fortunately, I found little to disagree with in this book. It is an engaging and enlightening exposition of the creation of the modern world. Many readers will find it a startling retelling of conventional history. For instance, who knows that an American general, Gracey, rearmed Japanese prisoners of war to fight a Vietnamese insurgency at the close of WW II? ...more
Rena Sherwood
You can clearly hear the late, great Hitchens' voice in the prose of "Blood, Class and Empire." He had a great way of weaving together a clear picture in the seemingly tangled clumps of historical literature. The only problem is that the reader needs to be up on American and English history in order to understand most of the book. For example, Hitchens mentions the big Suez Canal brouhaha in the 1950s but yet does not explain it. You gotta work in order to "get" this book. Great bibliography, br ...more
At times sober, at others very funny, this is a simultaneous critique and celebration of the Anglo-American relationship. Christopher Hitchens, a duel citizen of both Britain and the United States, analyses all the characteristics of the "special relationship": the ties of language and literature, family and blood; the antagonism and resentment that existed (and for some still does); a genuine sense of shared sacrifice in war; the American obsession with British affectations ("Just keep talking, ...more
Interesting for an old Brit to read Hitchens view of the "special relationship", and his account of the rise of the US to world empire. He treats the question thematically, giving pride of place to Rudyard Kipling's disgraceful "white man's burden." Not so well known now is what this poem was all about, (not obvious it turns out either what the burden was, or whose Kipling thought it was)or that Kipling was still writing in World War II, with Churchill sending special editions of his efforts to ...more
Michael Goldman
Hitchens wrote this book for those who are already well versed in both British and United States history. Never are the "characters" introduced so much as brought in at a point where the casual reader could appreciate Hitchen's biting wit about them.

Whenever he would mention a historical figure that I would know, this book became fascinating so I'm sure for those starting out in his intended audience (that being history majors in the United Kingdom it would seem) I'm sure it's brilliant.

What is
Rebecca Johnson
Written in 1990 but so relevant still. I love how he marries the cultural and the political to illustrate the Anglo-American relationship.
Chris Elkjar
Interesting take on the "special relationship" that exists between the British empire in decline and the American empire. One of the more heavy books from hitch that I've read. The list of "to-read" history books from his references will keep me busy for a while.

Took a while to finish with a ton of trips to Wikipedia.
I got really bored with this book. I guess I just don't care if Americans have an idealized view of the British, or if our relationship with them is complicated and greatly fictionalized. The information was good and very detailed and cited, I just couldn't care enough about it to be really interested.
Chewy. A book that would probably profit one more if one had already gone through a few other books first. I love Christopher Hitchens, and there are a few wonderful bon mot, but this is far from his best.
Patricia  Reynolds
This wonderful book gives the US culture insights into how and why we continue to maintain such a strong relationship with a government that we once viewed as tyrannical.
Gregory Rothbard
Hitchens seems to have a conversation with you; as if I was an equal which of course I am not.
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Christopher Eric Hitchens (April 13, 1949 – December 15, 2011) was an English-born American author, journalist and literary critic. He was a contributor to Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, World Affairs, The Nation, Slate, Free Inquiry and a variety of other media outlets. Hitchens was also a political observer, whose best-selling books — the most famous being God Is Not Great — made him a staple of tal ...more
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