"Robert Dallek brings to this majestic work a profound understanding of history, a deep engagement in foreign policy, and a lifetime of studying leadership. The story of what went wrong during the postwar period…has never been more intelligently explored." —Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Team of Rivals
Robert Dalleck follows his bestselling Nixon and Kissenger: Partners in Power and An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963 with this masterful account of the crucial period that shaped the postwar world. As the Obama Administration struggles to define its strategy for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Dallek's critical and compelling look at Truman, Churchill, Stalin, and other world leaders in the wake of World War II not only offers important historical perspective but provides timely insight on America's course into the future.
After WWII, the most destructive war in history, everyone yearned for a better world. Veteran historian Dallek (Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power) delivers a shrewd analysis of why world leaders failed to deliver it. Reviewing postwar crises Soviet occupation of eastern Europe, the creation of Israel, India's independence, France's occupation of Indochina, China's civil war, the Korean War Dallek sadly concludes that the Allies misread history, eschewing anything that smacked of appeasement, treating opponents, mostly the U.S.S.R., as they should have treated Hitler. Without attempting to rehabilitate Stalin, Dallek asserts that Western leaders managed to push all his paranoid buttons. Notwithstanding their conviction that he aimed to conquer the world, Stalin was no apostle of world revolution but a conventional nationalist obsessed with protecting Russia's borders and maintaining his own power. Despite repeated painful experiences and immense expense, traditional, pugnacious power politics proved irresistible (except, ironically, to WWII's losers, Germany and Japan), Dallek concludes in this perceptive work. 16 pages of b&w photos.