Subtitled ""The Failure of the Western Alliance 1918-1956"", a British historian presents a critical survey of allied diplomacy that contains many harsh judgments. The thesis is extremely complex but clearly argued. However certain contentions may be paraphrased and still remain recognizable. ""There are no altruists among the nations"" and throughout the past half century the U.S. has been no more, only about equally, ""hypocritical or self-deluded"". Thus he offers a ""plain man's guide to world affairs"" during that period with special attention directed toward the clash of ideals in Europe, especially Britain and the U.S. If a just and realistic settlement had been offered at Versailles instead of Wilson's intractable demands, the world might have seen a tremendous economic renaissance. Instead another great war became inevitable. And then came the Cold War, because according to the author FDR trusted the Russians more than he did the British. By keeping his vast subject in the perspective of traditional international politics and maintaining the Suez crisis as both key and culmination, Mr. Collier has given another aspect of America's coming of age as a world power.