Two historians and former State Department officials argue that the United States has imperiled itself by forgetting the tragic view of history that informed the cooperative world order it helped fashion after World War II.
Bottom line: This is a book that should be read by all students and citizens concerned with the lessons of history. The deep insights in this book may not be absorbed or followed by American voters or even by many elected representatives. Nonetheless the alert citizen of the US and any concerned member of the human race will learn much from this learned and very readable treatise.
...brilliant ... [Brands and Edel] argue—and they are doubtless right—that the memory of the tragic events leading up to World War II helped build the postwar order and that forgetting those sickening days or imagining that such things could never recur is a fateful step toward ruin ... Although one admires the clarity of this analysis, one can’t help questioning whether what has happened in recent years is a refusal to see what is required to defend the values of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and human rights—or whether it is adherence to the values themselves that is changing ... Some will dismiss these insightful authors as 'Cold War liberals'—that probably says more about the critics’ than the authors. Messrs. Brands and Edel summon us to the experience of something older than anticommunism ... One wonders, however, if any people without a sense of tragedy will seek to acquire it on the basis of the authors’ urging.
It’s the stuff of Aeschylus and Thucydides but also of the current headlines ... Literate and lucid—sure to interest to readers of Fukuyama, Huntington, and similar authors as well as students of modern realpolitik.