il Mulino

Cover America and Its Critics
series "Contemporanea"
pp. 272, Brossura, 978-88-15-09828-3
publication year 2005


America and Its Critics

Virtues and Vices of the U.S. Hyperpower

No country in the world triggers conflicting feelings as much as the United States. This has always been the case, but today it is even more so. The reason is obvious: after the end of the cold war, America is the only remaining great world power. Indeed, it has become a veritable hyperpower, encountering no limits when it exercises its might; and from its power depends the world's destiny. A renowned connoisseur of America, Sergio Fabbrini discusses the most common critiques of American democracy: it's plebiscitary, validated by few voters, biased toward the rich, imperialist... The book, however, does not aim to criticise such accusations, but rather show how they miss their mark. Even if American democracy has flaws that are less serious (and different) than those emphasised by these critiques, it is also far from being a catalogue of virtues (as its supporters would have us believe). Founded on contradiction rather than on consistency, American democracy is neither a model nor an ideology. Challenging commonplaces, erroneous "truths", and prejudices, the author invites the reader to scrutinise American democracy and appreciate its differences with respect to its European counterparts. Since no one can elude the hyperpower, it is best to understand how it works.

Sergio Fabbrini teaches Political Science at the University of Trento, where he also coordinates the International Studies doctorate programme.