Emmanuel Todd - After the Empire

While in the Aeroport in London, waiting to go off to Lebanon, I checked out the various stores around. I know Terminal 4 like the back of my hand, as I’ve been in that aeroport countless times on my flights to and from Greece. Straight to Books, etc to see if there’s anything I might have missed out on. The selection isn’t all that great but it passes the time I guess.

The book that caught my eye was Emmanuel Todd’s ‘After the Empire‘. It’s originally a french book, that has been recently translated in English. For my month this is currently the book of the year for me. I got on the plane and by the time the plane had landed I’d read half of it. It took me another day to finish off the rest of the book. Seriously it was the addictive.

The meat of the subject:
So you ask what is ‘After the Empire’ all about? Before I get into that I’ll explain that Emmanuel successfully predicted the fall of the Sovient Union back in 1974. He’s an incredibly astute writer, something I find very lacking in ‘Political writers’. After the Empire talks about the inevitable fall of the ‘American Empire’. This isn’t a HATE-America book. Far from it. This is a book about facts and what we can understand, deduce from those facts.

The book learns from history and previous world powers. He analyses data in a way I’ve never seen before, and provides tables that are truly telling of how the world works. A complete shocker for me was that only 30% of America’s oil consumption comes from the Middle East. Would you believe Canada, Venezuela, Mexico are three major players in the oil consumption of the US? Here’s the actual information

At his core however Todd is a demographer. He looks at populations and how they’re shifting and changing. He looks at what the implications of a higher infant mortality rate actually means (something he did successfully with the Soviet Union). Does he provide conclusive evidence? Well no, he can’t predict the future. What he does do is analyse the current state of affairs and pays close attention to the last 15 years and explains his thoughts on the matter.

No topic is taboo. He’ll tackle everything from the US government’s Kamikazee foreign policy to the impressive trade deficit. I’ve got to admit that a lot of it went over my head on first reading, because I’m not used to reading about economics, trade deficits, etc. However the information is very well laid out.

Final Verdict.
If there’s one book that you’re going to read this year, seriously get ‘After the Empire‘ (hey what can I say I saw Episode III, so I’m in a Star Wars mood).


  1. I read books of Todd since 20 years and I think that is under appreciate and not always understood.
    If you read him I think that you can understand the world.
    He has write wrote book about emigration in France, USA, GB, Germany, very intersting too.
    His idea is that there is a link between family type ,demography and politics.
    For Todd in fact Economy and Politics are made by sociology and anthropology.
    I think that many people don’t understand that, because especially in his lasts book he has no time to explain that because in his book there is too many idea.

    1 JLS