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  • Published: 18 August 2020
  • ISBN: 9781760145095
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 464

When America Stopped Being Great

A history of the present

A comprehensive analysis of the political, economic, cultural and technological factors that contributed to America’s decline and inadvertently paved the way for Trump’s presidency.

The presidency of Donald Trump is commonly seen as an historical accident. In When America Stopped Being Great, Nick Bryant argues that it was almost historically inescapable. In this highly personal account, drawing on decades of covering Washington for the BBC, Bryant shows how the billionaire capitalised on the mistakes of his five predecessors – Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama – and how also he became a beneficiary of a broken politics, an iniquitous economy, an ailing media, a facile culture, disruptive new technology and the creation of a modern-day presidency that elevated showmanship over statesmanship. Not only are we seeing the emergence of a post-American world, Bryant fears we are witnessing the emergence of a post-American America. The aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, when Donald Trump refused to accept defeat and incited his supporters to storm the US Capitol, revealed the country’s chronic state of disunion.

The history of Donald Trump’s rise is also the history of America’s fall.

'An elegant and insightful dissection of how a great nation lost its footing and the world’s respect. The tragedy is made all the more stark by the genuine love of America in Nick Bryant’s writing' – Leigh Sales

'Nick Bryant writes like a dream, and is one of those very rare things on TV – a man who makes you want to turn up the sound. His eye for description is sublime, and he has a way of showing you what you’ve been missing from the whole story, whilst never leaving you feeling stupid' – Emily Maitlis

‘Bryant is a genuine rarity – a Brit who understands America’ The Washington Post

  • Published: 18 August 2020
  • ISBN: 9781760145095
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 464

About the author

Nick Bryant

Nick Bryant is one of the BBC’s most trusted and senior foreign correspondents. He has been posted in Washington, South Asia, Australia and, most recently, New York. He is a regular contributor to several Australian magazines and newspapers, including The Australian, The Spectator and The Monthly. Nick studied history at Cambridge and has a doctorate in American politics from Oxford. He now lives in New York City with his wife and children.

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Praise for When America Stopped Being Great

Bryant mounts a scathing indictment of the polarization and degradation that has transformed the U.S. An adroit political critique.

Kirkus Reviews (U.S.)

A brilliant analysis of the factors that have contributed to America’s decline.

Angela Mollard, Daily Telegraph

Bryant has written a fine book [that] captures brilliantly the history of the forces arrayed against Biden.

Australian Book Review

An impressive endeavour to identify just when the US arrived at the threshold of decline. [Bryant] is a first-class journalist, but he is also possessed of undeniable skills as an historian ... He writes with confidence because he has a deep understanding of American political culture.

Stephen Loosley, Australian

Discover more

Power grapple

Nick Bryant reveals the unlikely start-point of Donald Trump’s first ‘semi-serious’ presidential bid.

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