|An illuminating account of the birth and rise of
the global political and economic system that, sustained first by
Britain and now by America, created the modern world.
Walter Russell Mead, one of our most distinguished foreign policy
experts, makes clear that the key to the predominance of the two
countries has been the individualistic ideology of the prevailing
Anglo-American religion. Mead explains how this helped create a culture
uniquely adapted to capitalism, a system under which both countries
thrived. We see how, as a result, the two nations were able to create
the liberal, democratic system whose economic and social influence
continues to grow around the world.
With wit, verve, and stunning insight, Mead recounts what is, in
effect, the story of a centuries-long war between the English-speaking
peoples and their enemies. Sustained by control of the oceans that
surround them, the British and their American heirs built a global
system of politics, power, investment, and trade over the past three
hundred years. Along the way, the two nations developed a sophisticated
grand strategy that brought the English-speaking powers to a pinnacle
of global power and prestige unmatched in the history of the world.
Since Oliver Cromwell's day, the English-speakers have seen their
enemies as haters of liberty and God who care nothing for morality, who
will do anything to win, and who rely on a treacherous fifth column to
assure victory. Those enemies, from Catholic Spain and Louis XIV to the
Nazis, communists, and Al-Qaeda, held similar beliefs about their
British and American rivals, but we see that though the Anglo-Americans
have lost small wars here and there, they have won the major conflicts.
The stakes today are higher than ever; technological progress makes new
and terrible weapons easier for rogue states and terror groups to
develop and deploy. Where some see an end to history and others a clash
of civilizations, Mead sees the current conflicts in the Middle East as
the latest challenge to the liberal, capitalist, and democratic world
system that the Anglo-Americans are trying to build. What we need now,
he says, is a diplomacy of civlizations based on a deeper understanding
of the recurring conflicts between the liberal world system and its
foes. In practice, this means that Americans generally, and especially
the increasingly influential evangelical community, must develop a
better sense of America's place in the world.
Mead's emphasis on the English-speaking world as the chief hero (and
sometimes villain) in modern history changes the way we see the world.
Authoritative and lucid, God and Gold
weaves history, literature, philosophy, and religion together into an
eminently important work—a dazzling book that helps us understand
the world we live in and our tumultuous times.
God and Gold
Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World
by Walter Russell Mead