God and Gold Britain, America, and the making of the modern world, by walter russel mead.
Looks at the last few hundred years of history from the perspective of the maritime liberal capitalist societies of the UK and the US which he relates very closely. Then looks at the wider foreign policy issues and what light is shed on them. Interesting book, puts a different perspective on history.
Also, I found this bit very amusing:
"Seats in the House of Commons were openly bought and sold, as were the votes of the electors. In 1734 Anthony Henley, a British MP from Southampton, wrote a letter in answer to constituents' complaints about his support of the excise tax:
I received yours and I am surprised at your insolence in troubling me about the excise. You know what I very well know, that I bought you. And I know well what perhaps you think I don't know, that you are now selling yourselves to somebody else. And I know something you don't know, that I am buying another borough. May God's curse light on you all. May your houses be as open and as common to all excise officers as your wives and daughters were to me when I stood for your scoundrel corporation.