This book proves just how dull a foreign correspondent's recapping of historic events can be. Cook, who wrote for the N.Y. Herald Tribune and then for the L.A. Times, was around for the Marshall Plan, the birth of the EEC, the Berlin blockade, May '68, and much more that we already know plenty about. Worse, he's organized his recap around the various leaders he saw close up and over whom he fawns like a star-struck journalism student. Ernest Bevin, British postwar foreign secretary and overseer of the Empire's dismantling, is introduced as ""one of the great Foreign Secretaries in British history."" Adenauer is compared with Bismarck and Hitler as a shaper of German history, only to come down a few notches when Cook has to build up Brandt and Schmidt. Somehow, only De Gaulle seems to merit the gushing, but Cook dilutes that with an overgenerous rendition of the scourge of Parisian architecture, Pompidou. Pompidou is bad enough, but Edward Heath? These leaders, and others, appear in rough chronological order, wrapped around events, and with time taken out for an unenlightening capsule biography worthy of an encyclopedia. For an exemplary treatment of similar ""events,"" turn to Alfred Grosser's The Western Alliance (p. 337). Otherwise, try the newspaper.