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Book Review

Escape from Empire The developing world’s Journey Through Heaven and Hell

Escape from Empire CoverWritten By Alice H.Amsden, reviewed by Dr.Claude Shema-Rutagengwa

General coordinator

Great Lakes Peace Initiative(GLPI)


In reading the title and chapters of this book, the first impression will be that in one way or another, the book is reflecting on ritual matters, or divinity. But it is true somewhat, because the world today seems to be under similar circumstances, where we have two different categories of people :”Richest and poorest”. This shouldn’t matter so much, but the real matter is how the rich ones treat or cooperate with the poor ones.

Powerful countries like the US have became (or pretend to be) the “World leader,” and their economy andinternational politics have a strong influence on US people and, remarkably, on the rest of the countries.

So the economic growth of the US itself,  in time, compared to the heaven and hell, depending on how it is. When it is good, the writer sees that as heaven; when it goes worse, it becomes hell.

The same as its impact on the international scale, and it affects different sectors of our daily lives on the large scale like: health, environment, education, peace, international development, etc.

All of this compiled into the wonderful biblical style under 11 different chapters like...

Heaven can’t wait...Where the sun never sets, and wages never rise...Trading earth for heaven…Angel Dust…Gift of the Gods….The light of the moon….Dien Bien: Knowledge is eternal, etc….

According to Alice H.Amsden-the author of this book-,under the first American empire from 1950 to 1980,the world enjoyed an economic golden age, and in the period between the end of the WW II-Vietnam war, economies in the third world prospered. Then, after 30 years, it was struck by lightining. It died at the hands of Vietnam war.

Therefore, the author explores different reasons for   the situation and proposes some remedies as well. Besides that, another idea comes in also on why “Heaven hates headstrongness”, and explains further that when US was isolationist before WW II, it took no responsibility  for third world matters.

But when it assumed power after WW II, responsibility for the third world  fell into its lap, and it was presented with choices. On the other hand, the US could control the third  world politically while doing next to nothing for it economically, as the French and British empires had more or less done. Alice explains.

Nevertheless, the impact of the US empire and its economy  to the rest of  the world is also another concern.

Then it would be better to escape from empire.




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