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The Great Experiment: The Story of Ancient Empires, Modern States, and the Quest for a Global Nation
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The Great Experiment: The Story of Ancient Empires, Modern States, and the Quest for a Global Nation

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  53 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
This dramatic narrative of breathtaking scope and riveting focus puts the "story" back into history. It is the saga of how the most ambitious of big ideas -- that a world made up of many nations can govern itself peacefully -- has played out over the millennia. Humankind's "Great Experiment" goes back to the most ancient of days -- literally to the Garden of Eden -- and in ...more
Hardcover, 478 pages
Published January 1st 2008 by Simon & Schuster
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Feb 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
This has to be Talbot's magnum opus.
Apr 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Accomplished journalist and former Deputy Secretary of State Stobe Talbott uses his proclaimed love of history and his life body of work to tackle the "modern" idea of eradicating borders when tackling gargantuan issues such as nuclear proliferation, genocide, the world economy.

In the first third of this book, Talbot traces the inclination of prior empires/nations to unify or sequester peoples for a variety of purposes. The reasoning gets more sophisticated with the introduction and, throughout
May 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book, balancing the author's personal stories at the State Department during the Clinton Administration with substantial (and well-cited) evidence. This book chronicles the evolution of the "world state" idea, starting with Alexander the Great's military conquests to the role of the Catholic Church, and ending with substantial focus on the United Nations and the European Union. In the midst of this, Talbott draws on dozens of political philosophers, giving you a theoretical grounding f ...more
Apr 11, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a themed history of great power diplomacy with a view towards various efforts at global or nearly global government. The idea seems to be the tension between coercion and cooperation, between power and ideas in coming to a good outcome. It is very west-centered and American-centered and seems to be a reaction to the Bush administration as well. There is a bit too much navel gazing going on here for me, although there are several interesting sections and the book provides a good historica ...more
Nov 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics, non-fiction
A very well presented exploration of the progression toward global unification. The author does a great job of presenting enough fact (and anecdotal evidence) to support his position without creating a massive historical tome. Mostly non-partisan, although it might appear so to less open-minded readers and Bush loyalists who feel he is too harsh on Dubya's administration. But then how can anyone paint those eight years in anything but a bad light and still remain honest? Definitely an interestin ...more
Aug 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
A great review of the beginning of States and our slow march towards world government and international laws that every citizen must abide by. Talbott spends a great deal of time describing the 20th century and his dealings within the Bush and Clinton administration and the use of the UN by these administrations.
Jul 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: the-past-years
Not the average teenage read, for sure. It goes through the motions of current (when it was written a few years ago) policies and political systems of the world, while incorporating the history of the author with the history of the world.
Susan Altick
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Spectacular book! Highest possible praise. I feel as if I've taken a complete course on Geopolitics and World History! Simply amazing. I will be reading it again....very, very soon! I need to become more conversant in this area.
Jun 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
5 stars for the sheer comprehensiveness of Strobe's analysis of Western culture. If not novel in its content, certainly novel in the relatively concise delivery and enjoyable crash course in Western civilization and its major figures he provides, with convenient inserts for key ideas and players.
Catherine  Mustread
Aug 28, 2009 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Catherine by: Dayton Literary Peace Prize
"Combining sweeping history with personal insight, Talbott explores the consolidation of tribes into nations and argues for America's unique role in modern history as "the master builder" of the international system."
Rikia Saddy
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An extraordinary analysis of world history told from the perspective that we are one. I might be the only geek on the beach re-reading it this summer.
Aug 18, 2013 is currently reading it
Shelves: fall-2013
I met Strobe Talbott at the Writer's Conference in Idaho in 2012 and he told me that out all the books he has written, this was the one he was most proud of. Happy reading!
May 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, own
very interesting story about the intellectual development leading to the creation of the League of Nations and the UNO
extensive coverage of the foreign policies of Bush 41, Clinton and Bush 43
Choong Chiat
Apr 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is both erudite and eloquent.

However, while this book evidently provides a well-written historical narrative, I found it to be perhaps lacking in analysis and/or arguments.
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