Landmarks on the Road

Martin Filler 

In Henry R. Luce’s hortatory 1941 editorial “The American Century,” which appeared in his Life magazine a few months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor drew the United States into World War II, the publisher urged his countrymen to abandon their isolationism and to join the global crusade against Fascism. The triumphalist and imperialist title of that call to arms has since become a catchphrase for the emergence of the United States as the preeminent world power, not just in economic and military terms, but as a pervasive cultural influence as well...

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