Cover: Empire by Invitation: William Walker and Manifest Destiny in Central America, from Harvard University PressCover: Empire by Invitation in HARDCOVER

Empire by Invitation

William Walker and Manifest Destiny in Central America

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$45.00 • £39.95 • €40.95

ISBN 9780674737495

Publication Date: 04/02/2018


384 pages

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

21 halftones, 3 maps


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This account of the life and times of the American adventurer William Walker, who briefly seized the presidency of Nicaragua in the 1850s, defies the conventional wisdom, which holds that Walker was bent on adding new slave states to the United States. Gobat paints him instead as a private standard-bearer of American democracy, entrepreneurialism, and technological progress.—Richard Feinberg, Foreign Affairs

Insightful and meticulously researched… Combines an impressive and thoughtful study of this expedition to Nicaragua with an intellectually ambitious and bold quest to re-define and reframe the history of filibusterism in Central America, and of William Walker in particular. Gobat underscores the transnational dimension and convincingly argues that we need to see the manifold connections to finally grasp the scope and impact of these two years of North American presence in Nicaragua.—Delia González de Reufels, Revista Iberoamericana

Empire by Invitation is a wonderfully subversive work of history. It takes an iconic story of American racism and imperialism and, through dogged transnational research and bold analysis, reveals it to be something altogether weirder, more interesting, and more important. A fabulous book.—Brian DeLay, author of War of a Thousand Deserts

Gobat busts the conventional wisdom on William Walker’s 1855 conquest of Nicaragua wide open, making a compelling case for the Walker regime as an example of liberal imperialism. This engrossing book makes a major contribution to our understanding of empire in the Manifest Destiny era.—Kristin L. Hoganson, author of Fighting for American Manhood

This important and richly researched book reinterprets the politics and ideas not only of Walker and his gang of ‘filibusters,’ but also the Nicaraguan liberals and foreign supporters who sought to construct a new liberal polity along the route of a booming passageway across the Central American isthmus. Gobat recasts a familiar episode in a new and surprising light—it is global and transnational history at its best.—Jay Sexton, author of The Monroe Doctrine: Empire and Nation in Nineteenth-Century America

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