Cover: American Umpire, from Harvard University PressCover: American Umpire in HARDCOVER

American Umpire

Add to Cart

Product Details


$40.00 • £32.95 • €36.00

ISBN 9780674055476

Publication Date: 03/04/2013


448 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


[A] wholly engaging analysis of U.S. history… One of the book’s underlying themes is a convincing critique of the depiction of the U.S. as an empire. In doing this, Cobbs Hoffman lends the long lens of history to contemporary debates on U.S. foreign policymaking… A key strength of this book is that it successfully embeds the founding and unfolding history of the U.S. into these broader global trends. In doing so, American Umpire engages in debates in the fields of global and international histories on the place of the U.S. in world affairs.—J. Simon Rofe, Times Higher Education

A useful, cogent examination of why, despite some folly and ill judgment, America continues to be the one country the world looks to when in crisis or need of support.Kirkus Reviews

In this bold revision of the history of American foreign policy, Stanford historian Cobbs Hoffman upends the notion that the U.S. was ever an empire, arguing instead that democratic capitalism, in which the people are sovereign and individuals own and generate wealth, essentially sells (and is selling) itself.Publishers Weekly

American Umpire is startlingly original, a fascinating interpretation of the history of the United States in the world.—Erez Manela, coeditor of The Shock of the Global: The 1970s in Perspective

Few ideas about world politics seem more popular than the notion that the United States, still the world’s great superpower, has formed its own form of empire. This is the notion that Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman challenges in this fast-paced, always provocative, and certainly controversial interpretation of America’s global role.—Jack N. Rakove, author of Revolutionaries: A New History of the Invention of America

Are we really exceptional? Have we really improved the world through our foreign activities? Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman offers a resounding yes to both questions. With insight and wit, she explains how Americans have helped to build more open, accountable, and peaceful societies across the globe.—Jeremi Suri, author of Liberty’s Surest Guardian: American Nation-Building from the Founders to Obama

American Umpire is the most persuasive and sensible one-volume interpretation of the whole history of American foreign policy to appear in at least a generation.—Philip Zelikow, University of Virginia

Recent News

From Our Blog

Jacket: Virtue Politics: Soulcraft and Statecraft in Renaissance Italy, by James Hankins, from Harvard University Press

Q&A with James Hankins, author of Virtue Politics: Soulcraft and Statecraft in Renaissance Italy

With Virtue Politics, James Hankins has delivered a bold, revisionist account of the political thought of the Italian Renaissance—from Petrarch to Machiavelli—that reveals the all-important role of character in shaping society, both in citizens and in their leaders. We spoke to him about the importance of virtue to leadership in Renaissance Italy—and its relevance to our own time.

‘manifold glories of classical Greek and Latin’

The digital Loeb Classical Library ( extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.