"A very good book indeed.... It is quietly reasoned, beautifully ordered, and spirited as hell.... [It] is not a book for children, nostalgic or otherwise."-Loren Baritz, The NationWilliam Appleman Williams was the American history profession's greatest critic of US imperialism. The Contours of American History, first published in 1961, reached back into British history to argue that the relationship between liberalism and empire was in effect a grand compromise, with expansion abroad containing class and race tensions at home.
Coming as it did before the political explosions of the 1960s, Williams's message was a deeply heretical one, and yet the Modern Library ultimately chose Contours as one of the best 100 nonfiction books of the 20th Century. This fiftieth anniversary edition will introduce this magisterial work to a new readership, with a new introduction by Greg Grandin, one of today's leading historians of US foreign policy.