Play by the Rules The Short Story of America's Leadership: From Hiroshima to COVID-19

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In Play by the Rules, acclaimed writer and historian Michael Pembroke offers a fresh take on the USA’s vast influence and asks whether it is still a force for good.

In the heady days after 1945, the authority of the United States was unrivalled. But seventy-five years later, its influence has already diminished. The world has now entered a post-American era – defined by the rise of Asia and the return of China, as much as by the decline of the United States. This book is a short history of that decline; how high standards and treasured principles were ignored; how idealism was replaced by hubris and moral compromise; and how adherence to the rule of law became selective.

Play by the Rules  is also a look into the future – a future dominated by greater Asia and China in particular. We are in the midst of the third great power shift in modern history – from Europe to America to Asia. Washington’s failure of leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating history.

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23cm x 15cm




Non-Fiction , History


Hardie Grant Books


05 August 2020


Michael Pembroke

Michael Pembroke was born in Sydney in 1955. He is the author of Arthur Phillip: Sailor, Mercenary, Governor, Spy (2013), which was short-listed for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, and Korea: Where the American Century Began (2018), which was short-listed for the Queensland Literary Awards and the NSW Premier’s History Awards.
 He was educated at the Universities of Sydney and Cambridge and was a