The H-Word

The H-Word:The Peripeteia of Hegemony

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A fascinating history of the political theory of hegemony

Few terms are so widely used in the literature of international relations and political science, with so little agreement about their exact meaning, as hegemony.

In the first full historical study of its fortunes as a concept, Perry Anderson traces its emergence in Ancient Greece and its rediscovery during the upheavals of 1848–1849 in Germany. He then follows its checkered career in revolutionary Russia, fascist Italy, Cold War America, Gaullist France, Thatcher’s Britain, post-colonial India, feudal Japan, Maoist China, eventually arriving at twenty-first-century US geopolitics and Germany’s place within an expanded European Union.

The result is a surprising and fascinating expedition into global intellectual history.


  • Anderson’s work displays stunning erudition. Part of a larger attempt to explain the forms and transformations of liberal power, The H-Word helps us understand how one hegemony dies and another begins.

    Gavin JacobsonNew Statesman
  • Fascinating history

    Adam ToozeFT
  • If you want to see how hegemony has been transformed from a critical term in the lexicon of leftist scholars and activists to a less critical but increasingly pervasive term in the lexicon of those interrogating late US imperialism, then The H-Word is a book well worth reading.

    Jim GlassmanAntipode