Conrad is one of a glittering generation of Australians cast onto the seas of world culture in the 1960s. He first encountered America through its movies. Here he examines the way the country has both interpreted itself for the rest of the world, and has in turn been half-understood by countries on which its huge footprint has strayed. He examines Australia's compliant role of contributing troops to American wars in exchange for so called protection.
In this dazzling new book, cultural critic and historian Peter Conrad tells the story of the spectacular rise and subsequent waning of American influence across the world since 1945. Politics, war and commerce form the inevitable backdrop to his tale, but Conrad also treats us to a kaleidoscopic presentation of America's unstoppable creativity: its output of great, good and enjoyably bad art, of jeans and jazz, fast food and fridges, space travel, comic books and motorbikes, technologies and therapies, along with the heroic, erotic or violent cinematic visions that have Americanized even our dreams.