1st Edition

Anti-Americanism and American Exceptionalism Prejudice and Pride about the USA

By Brendon O'Connor Copyright 2020
    214 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    214 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    This book argues against the tendency to see America as the worst or best nation and instead presents a case for seeing anti-Americanism as a counterproductive prejudice. There are many reasons to criticise American policies, politics and even society, but a crucial distinction must be drawn between criticism and prejudice.

    Charting the development and adaptation of this anti-American tradition, O’Connor maintains that it is important to contextualise it within the particularities of the American experience and the global reach of the United States’ influence and power. He argues for a move away from stereotypes and caricatures towards more specific and profitable discussions about American actions and policies.

    Offering precise and useful ways of understanding anti-Americanism and American exceptionalism that place the terms in their relevant political contexts, this volume is a  useful and engaging resource for those researching or studying American politics and ideology, foreign policy, American culture and international relations.

    Preface: Are we all Americans or anti-Americans now?

    Introduction: Exceptional terms for ordinary people

    Chapter 1: What is Anti-Americanism? The last respectable prejudice?

    Chapter 2: A history of anti-Americanism

    Chapter 3: Anti-Americanism vs. Criticism: Reporting on the 2003 Iraq War and the Korean War

    Chapter 4: Anti-Americanism or Anti-Bush?

    Chapter 5: What is American Exceptionalism? A key component of American nationalist ideology

    Chapter 6: Don’t know much about geography: American insularity, decline, and anti-Americanism

    Chapter 7: The Trump factor: The ugly American, popular culture, and populism


    Brendon O’Connor is an Associate Professor at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. He has published books and articles on anti-Americanism, US foreign relations, and US welfare policy. His most recent book Ideologies of American Foreign Policy (Routledge, 2019) was co-authored with John Callaghan and Mark Phythian.

    "One of the most insightful and prolific scholars of anti-Americanism on the planet, Brendon O'Connor has produced an essential book for the age of Trump. With sharp analysis of politics, culture, and foreign policy, O'Connor cuts through two centuries of mythmaking surrounding anti-Americanism to help us distinguish between ideological prejudice and salutary critique." - Max Paul Friedman, American University, Washington, DC

    "Americans have long benefitted from the critical gaze of their foreign friends. This book—the best yet written on anti-Americanism—follows in that tradition. Brendon O’Connor is among the world’s great scholars of America and its overseas perceptions. At this painful and frightening moment in American history, we need his wisdom more than ever." - Peter Beinart, City University of New York

    "Donald Trump was elected on a promise of American greatness, but his presidency – and the American people -- has fallen into disrepute overseas. In his new book, Brendon O'Connor argues that American exceptionalism and anti-Americanism are rooted in prejudice. His book is an invaluable exploration into how this antinomy originated, and why it misleads us about America's role in the world." - John B. Judis, author of The Nationalist Revival: Trade, Immigration, and the Revolt against Globalization

    "How will the Trump presidency affect international understandings of America, and Americans’ understandings of themselves? Almost certainly it will further fuel the growth of the seemingly polar opposites – anti-Americanism and American exceptionalism. This richly researched book traces through the growth of both sentiments, and criticises their common essentialism. Throughout, it is guided by a strong sense of history, an unfailing sense of proportion and an appreciation of contrasting outlooks and virtues." - Rodney Tiffen, Emeritus Professor, University of Sydney