God and Gold: Mead Explores History of "Anglo-American Wasps" and "Waspophobes" in New Book

November 12, 2007

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Contact: Lisa Shields, Vice President, Communications, 212-434-9888, communications@cfr.org

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October 9, 2007— This provocative new book, God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World, by Walter Russell Mead, Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy, argues that the main event in modern history is the long war between the Anglo-American Wasps and their rivals. For more than 300 years, first the British and then the Americans, have been busy building a global system of politics, power, investment, and trade. The Waspophobes—those who hate and fear Anglo-American capitalism, liberalism, arrogance, religion, and power—keep fighting back.

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From Oliver Cromwell to George W. Bush, Wasp leaders have described their enemies as an axis of evil who hate liberty and God, seek world domination, care nothing for morality, will do anything to win, and rely on a fifth column of traitors within.

Waspophobes, from Louis XIV on, thought pretty much the same things about the Wasps, but no matter who is right, for more than 300 years the Wasps have been winning. While they have lost small wars here and there, they have won big conflicts, the great power wars that shape the world. So far.

What are these conflicts about? Why do the Wasps keep on winning? Why, despite all their victories, do the Wasps never succeed in establishing the peaceful world they keep dreaming about? Why did Bush, Blair, and the neoconservatives fail so badly in the Middle East? What has Wasp power meant for world history, and where are the Wasps headed next?

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Drawing on sources from Lewis Carroll and Monty Python to Osama bin Laden and Tony Blair, God and Gold weaves history, literature, philosophy, and religion together into a dazzling, vivid picture of the world we live in and our tumultuous times.

More Advance Praise for God and Gold

"Walter Russell Mead has written yet another fascinating, thought-provoking book about America’s global role. Mead weaves together history, theology, economics and politics to tell the story of the rise of the English-speaking peoples and the world that they made. Churchill would have approved." 
- Fareed Zakaria, author, The Future of Freedom

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"Walter Mead’s new book is both delightful and outrageous: delightful in his mischievous, well-chosen use of poems, pamphlets, and political speeches to illustrate his arguments; and outrageous in the proper sense of the word–for it will outrage lots of readers: American know-nothings who assume life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness only began in 1776; liberal Brits who will be furious at the idea that they are the true and only forebears of our neocon obsession with changing the world, and making a profit from it; and foreigners everywhere, especially in French-speaking and Arabic-speaking countries, who will have their worst historical myth confirmed, that the Anglo-Saxons have been intent on dominating world affairs for at least the past four centuries and have no plans to give up the habit now." 
- Paul Kennedy, historian, Yale University

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Walter Russell Mead is the Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations and the award-winning author of Power, Terror, Peace, and War: America’s Grand Strategy in a World at Risk and Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World. Special Providence won the Lionel Gelber Award for the best book in English on international relations, and its Italian translation won the Premio Acqui Storia for the most important historical book.

Founded in 1921, the Council on Foreign Relations is an independent, national membership organization and a nonpartisan center for scholars dedicated to producing and disseminating ideas so that individual and corporate members, as well as policymakers, journalists, students, and interested citizens in the United States and other countries, can better understand the world and foreign policy choices facing the United States and other governments.

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