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The Age of War: The United States Confronts the World

Gabriel Kolko
The Age of War: The United States Confronts the World
ISBN: 978-1-58826-414-5
ISBN: 978-1-58826-439-8
ISBN: 978-1-62637-226-9
2006/199 pages/LC: 2005029743

"A provocative pedagogical source for the classroom."—Choice

"An informed and comprehensive study.... Impeccably researched and well authored, The Age of War is very strongly recommended reading." —Midwest Book Review

"This is a devastating account of the false assumptions behind US foreign policy.... Gabriel Kolko sees only too clearly the consequences of Washington's persistent refusal 'to acknowledge the limits of reality.'... He sustains his thesis with a lucid and insightful historical narrative which persistently challenges the conventional wisdom of international relations. In less than 200 pages, he provides a wealth of information and insight for all those hoping to make sense of our confused and troubled age."—John Gittings, East Asia specialist

"A brilliant and important book; I cannot speak too highly of it.... Kolko provides an indispensable account of what happens when a state's limitless global ambitions refuse to submit to the realities of its power. The lessons are sobering, but they must be learnt if this century is to avoid the scars of war that disfigured its predecessor."—Scott Burchill, Deakin University


In this comprehensive, succinct—and provocative—overview of five decades of US foreign policy, Gabriel Kolko gives special emphasis to the period since 2000.

Kolko argues that, as dangerous as the Cold War era was, we face far more instability and unpredictability now; the international environment is qualitatively more precarious than ever. Ranging from the Vietnam War to the war in Iraq, he critically appraises US responses to a world of complex new challenges. The result is a book with a unique voice, one that is sure to stimulate classroom discussion.


Gabriel Kolko is Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus at York University in Toronto. He is author of more than a dozen widely acclaimed books, including Century of War: Politics, Conflicts, and Society Since 1914 and Anatomy of a War: Vietnam, the United States, and the Modern Historical Experience.


  • Introduction.
  • Warfare at an Impasse: The Road to Vietnam.
  • Prelude to Permanent Crises: The Background.
  • The World Comes Apart: The 1990s.
  • The Twenty-First Century: The United States and War on the World.
  • Things Go Wrong: The United States Confronts a Complex World.
  • Conclusion: The Age of Perpetual Conflict.