The Rise and Decline of US Global Power

Alfred W. McCoy


Haymarket Books (Spring 2017, world English rights)

Trade Paper • ISBN-13: 9781608467730 • US $18.00 • 5 in x 8 in • 280 pgs.


In a completely original analysis, award-winning historian Alfred McCoy explores America’s rise as a world power, from the 1890s through the Cold War and its bid to extend hegemony deep into the twenty-first century through a fusion of cyberwar, space warfare, trade pacts, and military alliances. McCoy then analyzes the marquee instruments of US hegemony—covert interventions, client elites, psychological torture, and worldwide surveillance.

Alfred McCoy’s 2009 book Policing America’s Empire won the Kahin Prize from the Association for Asian Studies.


“[McCoy] persuasively argues for the inevitable decline of the American empire and the rise of China… Let’s hope that Americans will listen to his powerful arguments.”

Viet Thanh Nguyen, prize-winning author of The Sympathizer

“Alfred McCoy offers a meticulous, eye-opening account of the rise, since 1945, and impending premature demise of the American Century of world domination. As the empire’s political, economic, and military strategies unravel under cover of secrecy, America’s neglected citizens would do well to read this book.”

Ann Jones, author of They Were Soldiers

This book “joins the essential short list of scrupulous historical and comparative studies of the United States as an awesome, conflicted, technologically innovative, routinely atrocious, and ultimately hubristic imperial power.”

John Dower, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Embracing Defeat, War Without Mercy, and The Violent American Century

“Sobering reading for geopolitics mavens and Risk aficionados alike…”


“What is the character of this American empire?” Alfred McCoy asks at the outset of this provocative study. His answer not only limns the contours of the American imperium as it evolved during the twentieth century, but explains why its days are quite likely numbered.  This is history with profound relevance to events that are unfolding before our eyes.

Andrew J. Bacevich, author of America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History

“While McCoy prefaces his argument by acknowledging the inherent difficulties of prognosticating world events, the case he makes for a precipitous decline in U.S. power over the next decade is compelling. If trends continue, by 2030 the American Century — proclaimed with such confidence not long ago — could be “all over except the finger-pointing.”

The Intercept

Praise for A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror (American Empire Project):

“McCoy skillfully traces the use of these methods from the Phoenix program in Vietnam—which was designed to ferret out high-level Vietcong, although of the more than twenty thousand people it killed most were civilians—to the actions of agency-trained secret police in Honduras in the nineteen-eighties, and the treatment of hooded detainees at Abu Ghraib.”

The New Yorker

“An indispensable and riveting account of the CIA’s development and use of torture, from the cold war to Abu Ghraib and beyond.”

Naomi Klein, The Nation


Praise for Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State:

“McCoy’s monograph will be the starting point for any future historical study of control and dissent in the Philippines. Summing Up: Highly recommended.”


“This remarkable study provides a meticulous analysis of the novel colonial system developed by the U.S. in the Philippines after the murderous conquest.”

Noam Chomsky


Praise for Torture and Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation:

“McCoy, our finest thinker on the issue of torture, describes its legalization under Bush and the damage caused to morality, law, and our future by Obama’s granting of impunity to the torturers. Readers will come away with the understanding that the United States’ commitment to human rights was tested by 9/11—and it failed.”

Michael Ratner, former president emeritus, Center for Constitutional Rights



Alfred W. McCoy holds the Harrington Chair in History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His 2009 book Policing America’s Empire won the Kahin Prize from the Association for Asian Studies. In 2012, Yale University awarded him the Wilbur Cross Medal for work as “one of the world’s leading historians of Southeast Asia and an expert on…international political surveillance.” 


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