An examination of the partitioning of nations such as Germany, Korea, Vietnam, Israel-Palestine, and Ireland, this thorough study looks at the political history and events leading up to the division of a country. Schaeffer, a journalist now employed by Greenpeace, sorts out the differing ways nations were split and the resulting consequences. He defines partitioned countries as those separate states resulting from the ""simultaneous devolution and division of power"" as determined by the ""great powers""--usually, the US, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union--in an attempt to peacefully ""transfer power to indigenous groups"" while securing superpower interests. These attempts have failed, according to Schaeffer, and have often led to war. He traces the origins of partition back to Woodrow Wilson and Lenin, who were reacting to the colonialist empires of other nations that excluded their countries from full participation in international trade. Partition came into wider use following WW II, when both the US and the USSR advocated self-determination for war-riven nations, but also wanted to maintain control. Most obviously in Germany, Korea, and Southeast Asia, these policies led directly to the Cold War and, says Schaeffer, to ""hot"" wars. Partitioned nations refused to recognize each other; the opposing power refused to recognize the separate state. These mutual refusals kept the partitioned nations at a disadvantage because they could not (and cannot) join international organizations, such as the World Monetary Fund. Minorities remaining within a partitioned nation are further disenfranchised, as Schaeffer demonstrates, by exclusion from full citizenship. Treated as ""foreign meddlers"" and terrorists, these minorities often desire ""self-determination of their own,"" which, in the cases of Ireland and Israel, has led to continual civil strife. An in-depth, well-researched and smoothly written account of a perennially timely subject.