Nugent argues that the story of American imperialism is really one continuous story of expansion divided into three phases stretching from the end of the Revolution to the misadventures of the Bush Administration: the "continental empire," the "offshore empire" and the "global or virtual empire." But those are three very different stories; the second is relatively unimportant, and the third is not really about empire. Not all imperialism is created equal, and not all imperiousness is imperialism.
Mr. Mahler's narration is neither an anti-war tome, accusatory opus, nor political polemic. Rather it is a reaffirmation — a celebration even — of America's constitutional government, in which a doughty naval officer and immigrant constitutional enthusiast could, in the midst of a war, sue the commander in chief on behalf of a low-ranking enemy detained in a cell at the edge of America's jurisdiction, and best the entire federal legal apparatus. Even for those who don't agree with the decision in Hamdan, the book will be a reminder of justice's grandeur in our country.
The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism by Ron Suskind is reviewed for the Los Angeles Times by Tim Rutten. The book takes up the Bush Administration and the war on terror. Because of Suskind's past work, Rutten writes, "a reader comes...to 'The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism' with high expectations. One is likely to get up, however, feeling frustrated, confused and in need of further reassurance from the author as to the substance of some of the book's most serious allegations."