How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States | Wilson Center
6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States

When people think of the United States, they typically have the contiguous part of the country in mind. But there have been only three years of U.S. history when that familiar shape has corresponded to the actual borders of the country. Immerwahr explores the history of the “Greater United States,” all the land over which the United States has claimed jurisdiction: colonies, uninhabited islands, occupied zones, and military bases. U.S. history comes out differently with this geography in view.

Daniel Immerwahr (PhD Berkeley, 2011) is an associate professor at Northwestern University, specializing in U.S. and global history. His first book, Thinking Small (2015), won the Merle Curti Prize in Intellectual History and the Society for U.S. Intellectual History’s annual book prize. His recent book, How to Hide an Empire, was called “wry, readable, and often astonishing” by the New York Times and “consistently both startling and absorbing” by Harper’s.

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks the Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest and the George Washington University History Department for their support.



  • Christian F. Ostermann

    Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
    Woodrow Wilson Center
  • Eric Arnesen

    Professor of History, The George Washington University