Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Young Adult Nonfiction Politics & Government


A Groundwork Guide

by (author) James Laxer

series edited by Jane Springer

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Jul 2006
Politics & Government, General
Recommended Age
14 to 18
Recommended Grade
9 to 12
Recommended Reading age
14 to 18
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2006
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2006
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jul 2006
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Download Teacher’s Guide

Download Teacher’s Guide

Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.


"[The Groundwork Guides] are excellent books, mandatory for school libraries and the increasing body of young people prepared to take ownership of the situations and problems previous generations have left them." -- Globe and Mail

The United States presides over the most far-flung imperial system ever established. Empire compares the American Empire to those of the past, finding that much can be learned from the fates of the British, Roman, Chinese, Incan, and Aztec empires.

James Laxer draws ominous parallels with the British who discovered too late that empire building ultimately threatens the health of democracy at home. Documenting how the American Empire works and what it means to the rest of the world, Empire asks: Does the American Empire bring stability to a troubled world? Or, like its imperial predecessors, does it impose inequality and oppression on humanity? And what happens when an empire stumbles?

About the authors

James Laxer, a professor of political science at York University in Toronto, has a wealth of experience analyzing American society. His best-selling book, Stalking the Elephant: My Discovery of America was described by Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Boston Globe David Shribman as "a book by a Canadian that can change the United States." The book was by published by the New Press in New York under the title Discovering America: Travels in the Land of Guns, God and Corporate Gurus. One of Canada’s leading political thinkers, Laxer is frequently consulted for commentary of current national and global issues by the media. He lives in Toronto.

James Laxer's profile page

Jane Springer is the author of Genocide, part of the Groundwork Guides series for which she is also the series editor. She is a consultant in international development and has lived and worked in Mozambique and India. She is the author of Listen to Us: The World's Working Children and translator of the Portuguese-language books Nest Egg and Tales from the Amazon. Jane Springer lives in Toronto.

Jane Springer's profile page


  • Commended, SSLI Honor Book
  • Commended, CCBC Our Choice
  • Commended, Booklist Top 10 Youth Series - Nonfiction

Editorial Reviews

...a quick, clear look at past empires [and] an examination of the history and rise of the American empire.

Globe and Mail amazing read. From the very first page it reached out and caught me, pulling me into a long lost world full of ambitious lords and vast empires...four-and-a-half stars.

Shuswap Market News

Empire provides an accessible overview of the imperial concept and is particularly useful in its description of American hegemony.

CM Magazine

An excellent primer for mature students and adults.

Resource Links

...a unique offering for researchers...

Horn Book

Each of the four well-written and engaging books in this valuable series provides a foundation for understanding an important subject relevant to current world stability and peace.

Library Media Connection

Librarian Reviews

Empire (Groundwork Guides)

The award-winning author confronts a major issue – the role of the United States in world affairs – and concludes that the US is directing the largest empire ever known.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Canadian Children’s Book News. 2007.

Other titles by James Laxer

Other titles by Jane Springer