America and the Americas
The United States in the Western Hemisphere

Lester D. Langley
Second Edition


“An objective analysis in a smoothly written, jargon-free text, admirably filling a void in the literature. His approach also gives needed attention to cultural influences. Essential for all libraries.”
Library Journal

"Lester Langley’s America and the Americas is the first book one ought to read on the intermingled history of the United States and its American neighbors. From their revolutionary beginnings up to today’s northward migrations—and from Canada to Argentina—this book tells the sometimes troubled and always fascinating story of inter-American relations with admirable verve and telling insight."
—Don H. Doyle, McCausland Professor of History, University of South Carolina

"An evenhanded, multidimensional account of inter-American relations. This new edition brings the project forward to the present by addressing the myriad issues of the post-Cold War Americas. It gives more attention to Canada, offers a fresh view of the age of independence, and accounts for the impact of globalization on inter-American affairs. In short, it provides a welcome conclusion to a major historical project, The United States and the Americas series."
—Michael L. Conniff, author of Panama and the United States: The Forced Alliance

“The dean of historians of hemispheric relations, Lester Langley, has produced a superb update of this pathbreaking text. With judicious additions on Canada, NAFTA, and immigration, it keeps its focus on culture and on impressions of the United States by the ‘other’ Americans.”
—Alan McPherson, author of Yankee No! Anti-Americanism in U.S.-Latin American Relations

America and the Americas is a fluid synthesis, not a textbook. The reader is assumed to have basic familiarity with the events that Langley rapidly summarizes, so that the book’s rewards go not to the uninitiated student but to the educated reader interested in sound judgments and deft interpretations that appear on almost every page. . . .Scholars, graduate students, and other readers trying to make sense of the growing transnational character of the Americas in the twenty-first century will benefit greatly from reading this account of how those ties developed over the preceding two centuries.”
—Max Paul Friedman, H-Net Review

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In this completely revised and updated edition of America and the Americas, Lester D. Langley covers the long period from the colonial era into the twenty-first century, providing an interpretive introduction to the history of U.S. relations with Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada. Langley draws on the other books in the series to provide a more richly detailed and informed account of the role and place of the United States in the hemisphere. In the process, he explains how the United States, in appropriating the values and symbolism identified with “America,” has attained a special place in the minds and estimation of other hemispheric peoples.

Discussing the formal structures and diplomatic postures underlying U.S. policy making, Langley examines the political, economic, and cultural currents that often have frustrated inter-American progress and accord. Most important, the greater attention given to U.S. relations with Canada in this edition provides a broader and deeper understanding of the often controversial role of the nation in the hemisphere and, particularly, in North America.

Commencing with the French-British struggle for supremacy in North America in the French and Indian War, Langley frames the story of the American experience in the Western Hemisphere through four distinct eras. In the first era, from the 1760s to the 1860s, the fundamental character of U.S. policy in the hemisphere and American values about other nations and peoples of the Americas took form. In the second era, from the 1870s to the 1930s, the United States fashioned a continental and then a Caribbean empire. From the mid-1930s to the early 1960s, the paramount issues of the inter-American experience related to the global crisis. In the final part of the book, Langley details the efforts of the United States to carry out its political and economic agenda in the hemisphere from the early 1960s to the onset of the twenty-first century, only to be frustrated by governments determined to follow an independent course. Over more than 250 years of encounter, however, the peoples of the Americas have created human bonds and cultural exchanges that stand in sharp contrast to the formal and often conflictive hemisphere crafted by governments.

United States and the Americas

Page count: 360 pp.
1 map
Trim size: 6 x 9


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Lester D. Langley, research professor of history emeritus at the University of Georgia, is the author or editor of a number of books on the history of the United States in the Americas, including The United States and the Caribbean in the Twentieth Century, The Americas in the Age of Revolution, 1750–1850, and The Americas in the Modern Age. He is general editor of the University of Georgia Press series The United States and the Americas.