Summary of The Limits of Power

The End of American Exceptionalism

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The Limits of Power book summary
A conservative historian’s compelling, impassioned look at American economic, political and military crises


7 Overall

6 Applicability

8 Innovation

8 Style


Author Andrew J. Bacevich dedicates this book to his son, a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army who was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq. Bacevich has long been a strong conservative critic of U.S. policy in Iraq, but it’s difficult to escape the impression that the impassioned indictment set forth here draws on a deep reservoir of personal anguish. With unblinking, unwavering directness, he attacks the illusions, self-deceptions and hypocritical cant that he says have provided the atmosphere and background music for a U.S. orgy of profligate consumption at home and rapacious violence abroad. A leading “conservative historian,” Bacevich supports his case with remarkably well-chosen facts, anecdotes and quotations, without ever bogging down the reader in unnecessary detail. Whether you agree or disagree with his conclusions, getAbstract recommends his book to anyone interested in contemporary American history and events.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why America is in a political, economic and military crisis
  • How U.S. political institutions have decayed
  • What led to America’s military dilemmas
  • What tough choices the American people and their political leaders must now confront


Endless War
The “peace dividend” that Americans expected after the Cold War never materialized. Instead, the U.S. embarked on a continuing, seemingly endless, series of wars, with boots on the ground or bombs in the air, or both, in the Caribbean, Persian Gulf, Eastern Europe, Africa and...
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About the Author

Former military officer Andrew J. Bacevich teaches history and international relations at Boston University. He wrote The New American Militarism and sits on the Council on Foreign Relations.

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