With the cold war over and the Soviet empire dead, a new examination of American national policies and priorities is beginning. Most of the economic, political and military costs of the American empire, which exceed $1 trillion each year, are being questioned for the first time since World War II. Touted by George Washington as the "infant empire," the United States expanded across the North American continent and at the turn of the twentiety century into the Pacific and Caribbean. At the end of World War II, it became the leader of the free world, a "world empire" of unprecedented power. However, by the 1980s, the strain of world leadership became apparent and signs of economic decline appeared, which is the inevitable fate of all empires. Jim Hanson undertakes this examination of imperial overstretch and decline and calls for a rechanneling of national energies into solving world-wide problems of war, environmental deterioration, and over-population. This historic-based and analytic critique of imperial America will interest scholars and students of American and world history, political and social science, economics, and foreign affairs.