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Why America Will Remain the World's Sole Superpower

Michael Beckley

Narrated by Chris Monteiro

Available from Audible

Book published by Cornell University Press

The United States has been the world's dominant power for more than a century. Now many analysts believe that other countries are rising and the United States is in decline. Is the unipolar moment over? Is America finished as a superpower?

In this book, Michael Beckley argues that the United States has unique advantages over other nations that, if used wisely, will allow it to remain the world's sole superpower throughout this century. We are not living in a transitional, post-Cold War era. Instead, we are in the midst of what he calls the unipolar era—a period as singular and important as any epoch in modern history. This era, Beckley contends, will endure because the US has a much larger economic and military lead over its closest rival, China, than most people think and the best prospects of any nation to amass wealth and power in the decades ahead.

Deeply researched and brilliantly argued, this book covers hundreds of years of great power politics and develops new methods for measuring power and predicting the rise and fall of nations. By documenting long-term trends in the global balance of power and explaining their implications for world politics, the book provides guidance for policymakers, businesspeople, and scholars alike.

Michael Beckley is Fellow in the International Security Program at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and assistant professor of political science at Tufts University.


“Beckley’s Unrivaled is simply the best book written on the sources of U.S. primacy in today’s world. Through a careful analysis of economic and military power, Beckley refutes views of U.S. decline and shows conclusively that the United States is poised to remain the world’s unparalleled behemoth for the foreseeable future.”

—Nuno Monteiro, Yale University, and author of Theory of Unipolar Politics

“Beckley demonstrates that no country is poised to upend American primacy, not economically, not militarily, and not technologically.... The evidence he assembles should be part of any serious debate about where we are headed.”

The New York Times

“Michael Beckley's research demolishes the current China hype, which fills a small library by now. 'America's edge will endure' is the message of this piece, and it is argued with academic rigor, felicity of style, and compelling numbers. Unrivaled will overturn many clichés about America's 'decline' while greatly improving the intelligence of the debate.”

—Josef Joffe, Stanford University

“Beckley upends conventional wisdom on the United States’ global power position. Don’t let the lively prose and accessible style trick you into thinking of this as an evanescent intervention in the debate on American decline. Unrivaled is a scholarly tour de force that will reshape the debate and cast a long shadow on subsequent scholarship.”

—William C. Wohlforth, Dartmouth College, and coauthor of America Abroad

“Smart and sophisticated.”

Foreign Affairs

“An important new book.... Beckley is convincing.”

E-International Relations

“Is the United States in decline? In this fascinating and well written book, Michael Beckley argues that the United States is and will remain the world’s sole superpower. Beckley’s novel theory emphasizes the national production, welfare, and security costs that influence relative national power. Drawing on a broad array of sources, he shows that his theory explains changes in the economic and military balance of power over the last 200 years, and that the narrative of American decline and China’s rise is therefore flawed. This important book challenges conventional wisdom and should be read by scholars and policymakers alike.”

—Michael C. Horowitz, University of Pennsylvania

“Michael Beckley has written a terrific, insightful, and persuasive book. By examining a nation’s net and not gross power, Unrivaled suggests that China’s rise poses much less of a challenge to the position of the United States than is commonly believed. It should be required reading for scholars and policymakers alike.”

—Taylor Fravel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“Michael Beckley offers a devastating and definitive critique of the idea that we are witnessing the end of the American era. In support of his case, Beckley's book is conceptually clear, empirically unassailable, and analytically fair and objective. It will quickly become a classic in International Security studies.”

—Keir Lieber, Georgetown University

“For those who think China is going to overtake the U.S., Michael Beckley says think again. Unrivaled shows that China can't match America's ability to generate wealth and military power. This masterful book backs up Bismarck's quip that "God has a special providence forthe United States.”

—John Mearsheimer, University of Chicago

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University Press Audiobooks