In certain ways, this book is like the second voyage of Columbus to the new world. An earlier excursion of mine into the subject matter, THE EUROPEANIZATION OF AMERICA ( 1995), helped me to plot the course and to discover the most salient features of the landscape. Hence, it will not do for me to accomplish no more with this book than to plot a bit more of the terrain and to describe the natives and their behavior in greater detail.
Rather, I have taken as my task to try to make some holistic sense of what I have discovered; to place it in the context of much larger movements that I believe are overspreading this globe.
The subject is as vast, complex and intertwined as any I have addressed. For that reason, I have tried to present it in digestible chunks, even at the expense of some oversimplification. Armed with this outline and aware of the plentitude of uncertainties that surround it, perhaps my reader will be able to place new events into context as they occur.
That is to say that I do not seek merely to recount facts, but to estimate their impact on the evolving world order. What else is a voyage of discovery for?