From the author of Charles de Gaulle (1984), Ten Men and History (1981), and Floodtide in Europe (1965), a 40th-anniversary tribute to NATO in the form of a chronicle of the years between WW II and the sealing of the US-European defense alliance. Except for semi-official histories like Acheson's Present at the Creation, most writings about this crucial period over the last two decades have been revisionist, with writers such as William Appleman Williams and John Gardner implying that NATO was a typically aggressive American gambit that led to responses in kind by the Soviets. Cook disagrees, demonstrating that it was Ernest Bevin, Britain's postwar foreign secretary, who was the driving force behind the treaty, overcoming longstanding objections on the part of America's foreign-policy elite to "entangling alliances." The author begins with heavy-handed criticism of FDR's naivetÇ in thinking that he could "baby" Stalin with his charm. "Roosevelt displayed an almost total indifference to problems of postwar Western security in Europe," Cook writes. But when the British recognized that they could no longer hold a European balance of power, impetus arose to manipulate FDR's successors into creating the 12-nation NATO alliance. At times, Cook's reportage verges on the amateurishly subjective: "Joe Davies was probably the silliest ambassador America ever sent to Moscow. . .fortunately for history, Davies was of no importance." Still, as accessible history for the general reader, this will do.