Lament for America: Decline of the Superpower, Plan for Renewal

Lament for America: Decline of the Superpower, Plan for Renewal

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By Earl H. Fry
University of Toronto Press, Higher Education Division © 2010
World Rights
224 Pages
ISBN 9781442601918
Published May 2010
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ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442603615
Published May 2010
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Lament for America explores the major challenges to the status of the United States as a world superpower. In delving into the fundamental question of whether or not a relative decline is inevitable, the author recognizes that the changes faced over the next few decades will be more rapid and transformational than at any other period in American history. Lament for America offers concrete recommendations for renewal in areas such as defense policy, health care, education, and the environment, and serves as a useful guide to understanding how decisions will shape both the U.S. and global landscapes.

Earl H. Fry is professor of political science and Endowed Professor of Canadian Studies at Brigham Young University. He is the author of many books including America the Vincible: U.S. Foreign Policy for the Twenty-First Century (Prentice-Hall).


  1. No Superpower Is Too Big to Fail
  2. Beltway Follies
  3. Domestic Fault Lines: Indebtedness and Inequities
  4. Domestic Fault Lines: The Comfort Zone of Mediocrity
  5. An Unsustainable U.S. Foreign Policy
  6. The First Major External Challenge to America's Superpower Status: The Rise of Competitor Nations
  7. An Emerging External Threat to America's Superpower Status: The Combination of Globalization, Technology Change, and Creative Destruction
  8. America's Strengths and a Plan for Renewal
  9. The United States in 2050


This book is bold, controversial, and thoroughly stimulating. Not everyone will agree with its author. But everyone will want to read his book.

Charles Doran, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of International Relations, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)

Essayists have predicted American decline since the founding, but rarely with as much evidence and insight as Earl Fry. Readers will appreciate that Fry has not produced a mere jeremiad—he concludes with a concise recounting of America's enduring strengths and smart ideas for how we might yet avoid the dark future he foresees. Whether you accept his thesis or not, this book is important to read, and read carefully.

Christopher Sands, Senior Fellow, The Hudson Institute

This extraordinarily valuable, well-researched book fills a real need in public discourse. Whether it's educational decline, our new Gilded Age of growing inequalities, or a governmental system buckling under the weight of massive debt and imperial overreach, Fry's book skillfully dissects the major challenges now facing the United States. His carefully reasoned proposals for an 'American renewal' should engage all civic-minded citizens who care about the state of our democracy.

Steven P. Erie, professor of Political Science, University of California, San Diego

Fry's appreciation and elegant description is essential reading for understanding the dilemmas that face America today. The book is more than an elegy. It is also an articulate prescription for recovery and responsible citizenship based on the virtues that inspired the Founding Fathers. It puts the emphasis on prudence in foreign policy and on statecraft rather than force of arms. Most of all, it is a clarion call for reform based on the spirit of openness and innovation that inspired the creators of the Great Republic and that has remained the essential ingredient of American vitality and resilience.

Colin Robertson, Former Canadian diplomat and frequent commentator on Canada-U.S. relations

Earl H. Fry has written a penetrating analysis of what ails contemporary America. As he documents, we live in a time with a surplus of problems and a deficit of workable solutions. Fry, however, does not shy away from offering solutions which are refreshingly devoid of ideology. Lament for America will unsettle both the left and the right, and thus should be required reading for conservatives, liberals, and moderates alike.

David E. Campbell, John Cardinal O’Hara, C.S.C. Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Notre Dame

All I can say is 'excellent.' It is wonderfully written, expertly researched, and convincingly presented.

Allen J. Morrison, Professor of Management, INSEAD

Earl Fry's book should be required reading for a U.S. audience.

The Globe and Mail

This brief and accessible book by Fry is essential reading for those interested in the future of US foreign policy.