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History Has Begun

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  140 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Popular consensus says that the US rose over two centuries to Cold War victory and world domination, and is now in slow decline. But is this right? History’s great civilisations have always lasted much longer, and for all its colossal power, the US was overshadowed by Europe until recently. What if this isn’t the end?

Bruno Maçães offers a compelling vision of America’s fut
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published March 1st 2020 by Hurst Publishers
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Oct 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
America began as a European project. Europe played the role of civilizational tutor in the development of America, just as Greeks helped shape the early Romans. But over the course of centuries has begun to transform into something entirely new and perhaps even at odds with Europe. This book offers the thesis that Americans are a people fundamentally shaped by the unique forms of fictional media storytelling that they have created. They are a people "at war with reality" and in love with grand s ...more
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Americans see the world as an action movie, Europeans as a documentary."

A unique perspective on what it means to live in America in the twenty-first century. Macaes sees modern America as a civilization undergoing radical transformation and a "decolonization" process in an attempt to cut the umbilical cord of its European roots and become something completely different in both philosophy and lifestyle. He sees America as the first post-modern culture, preferring to act in accordance with story-
Scriptor Ignotus
Conventional wisdom declares that the United States is a superpower in decline. After ascending to global preeminence over its first two centuries and briefly leading a unipolar world following the fall of communism, the nation that has traditionally regarded itself as the world’s foremost vanguard and expositor of western ideals has watched its relative economic and military superiority diminish as emerging power blocs have carved out space on the international stage. Perhaps more alarmingly, t ...more
Jun 02, 2020 rated it did not like it
Entertaining book, general theme or thesis is interesting and imaginative, but it's a very subjective book and idealistic in nature. Very idealistic / theoretical. For example if you look at other evidence elsewhere you can easily draw opposite conclusions, for example looking at Germany and Chinese relations at present, read this article here:

Then read this 2019 US Government report from the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
41 pages in, I had to stop before dying of boredom. I no longer care what his argument will be, I just want my life back. I don't want to work for sentences and thoughts that do not pay back for the effort.
The book is a vanity project - so special, worldly, educated, erudite - and it succeeds but in all the wrong ways.
Sep 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
"The United States is no longer a European nation"

"The New America is founded on a different principle. I call it the principle of unreality"

"The principle of unreality is an answer—a specifically American answer—to the shallowness of life in a modern liberal society."

"For America, the age of nation-building is over. The age of world-building has begun."

An amazing book.
Apr 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Adored it and have yet to stop thinking about it. I owe more of a summary here, but I suspect I’ll have read it again the next time I read this. America liberated from Western civ to become the land of locus eaters
Jim Coughenour
I’d just started Stephen Wertheim’s Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of US Global Supremacy and Scott Anderson’s The Quiet Americans: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the Cold War—A Tragedy in Three Acts when I spotted Bruno Maçães’s new book. Wertheim and Anderson illuminate the dark history of postwar Pax Americana. Maçães begins with the suggestion that US supremacy has run its course, a premise which assumes the obsolescence of the standard template of a liberal world order. Remarkably, this is n ...more
May 10, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Right. So, this was a book I borrowed from a friend -- I never would have picked this text up otherwise, as I am far more comfortable reading novels by queer and/or female/non-binary authors.

I enjoyed it. I really did. Some of Maçães's arguments (that Americans speak loudly because we subsconsciously want to emphasize and re-emphasize our culture's inherent artificiality through the use of words in crafting narratives -- because we're obsessed with stories...?) was a bit offensive, if I'm honest
Pepijn van  Dijk
Mar 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Again, a great, counter-intuitive, book by Bruno Macaes, who’s gaining real traction as one of today’s most interesting thinkers – and prolific twiterazzi. After China and Europe he now turns to the US.

His thesis on the United States is not as multi-layered as his last two books on Eurasia and the Belt and Road, but carries nevertheless a great insight: the US is living in a fantasy world, of its own making. The laws of reality don’t apply to America anymore – it is carving out a parallel univer
Rudyard L.
Mar 29, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: politics
An interesting thesis. You could have gotten me to agree to it. However, this book is a series of philosophic essays rather than a historical analysis. There was very little reference to data or objective material. This book was a statement about now and about how can’t work rather than a broad look into how the future would work. The difference he paints between Europe and America is a mild philosophic one, similar to that between British and Continental philosophy rather than the shift that oc ...more
Leonard Woods
Nov 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
The initial premise is extremely interesting and some of the history leading up to it is excellent supporting material. However, the book as a whole is a bit meandering with deep detours into the Iraq War and other items that, while connected in some ways, don’t seem to add effectively or efficiently to the theory.

Overall, worth a read for the core idea, but it could have been much tighter.
Nick Waight
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Original, thought-provoking and very plausible "theory of America": America the postmodern civilisation, the "land of stories". Writing is a bit cerebral and abstract in places, but the ideas are so interesting it's hard to stop reading. ...more
Jan 02, 2021 rated it liked it
Overtly ambitious, semi erudite and fantastically entertaining.

Andreas Shepard
Nov 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Intriguing idea, but disappointing book. The author has written articles, op eds, and etc. on this theme, all of which express the core idea more clearly and succinctly.
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes obscure and verbose but overall highly engaging work of political theory and cultural analysis.
Mar 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Many books feel like long-read magazine articles blown out to book length. One of the few books I wish were longer. Macaes bounces from one interesting idea from another so quickly, one keeps wishing he would slow own, and expand on the last statement.

In 200 pages, the author presents both an interesting meta-history of the United States, and an outline for US foreign policy.
Mr Paul T Lavin
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May 11, 2021
Mlle Emmanuelle Ganne
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