In this major work, Lewis S. Feuer examines critical distinctions between progressive and regressive imperialism. He explores causes of anti-imperial ideologies, noting that unlike the spoliation that took place under regressive tartar, Spanish and Nazi colonizations, civilization flourished during the progressive imperialism of Hellenic, Macedonian, Roman, and modern British eras of empire-building.
Feuer holds that it is erroneous to blame the relative backwardness of colonial peoples on the imperialism of Western democratic nations. In case after case, the character of colonial rulers determined economic development and democratic reform alike. Pursuing the theme of progress versus regression, Feuer compares the imperialism of the United States with that of the Soviet Union – to the detriment of the latter in nearly every instance. His effort constitutes nothing short of a fundamentally new perspective on the lessons of modern history and the mistakes of modern analysts of international affairs. Feuer opens as well a new chapter in political psychology with his study of such anti-imperialist intellectuals as Hobson, Morel, and Leonard Woolf; his portrait of Emin Pasha, the heroic Jewish governor of Equatorial Sudan, suggests a living model for Conrad's Lord Jim.