A husband and wife apply the lessons they’ve learned about managing their marriage to questions of international relations and world peace.
In this combination self-help and public policy book, Martin Hellman (editor: Breakthrough: Emerging New Thinking, 1988) and debut author Dorothie Hellman present their narrative in the form of a dialogue between themselves. The book is divided into two parts, with the first focused primarily on their decadeslong marriage and the second on the relationship between the United States and the rest of the world, but the same themes run through both. Although the idea of applying marital advice to foreign relations may raise readers’ eyebrows at first, the authors make a persuasive case for it. They describe the mechanics of their successful but often contentious marriage and demonstrate the personal benefits they derived from taking a holistic approach to their arguments, placing compassion at the center of their decision-making and accepting that neither person has any control over what the other does. They then apply lessons learned from buying a new car, managing an interfaith marriage, and meeting each other’s emotional needs to the concept of improving U.S. relations with Russia, Syria, Iraq, Cuba, North Korea, and Vietnam. The authors also address the issue of nuclear disarmament, a cause that the Hellmans have long supported. The book is at once conversational and solidly informative, and it includes thorough citations. The casual tone (“Dorothie and I don’t expect the nations of the world to love each other the way we do, but we do expect them to grow up enough to reduce the risk of global devastation to a more reasonable level”) makes for an easy, engaging read, and the authors’ clear passion and dedication to their subject on both a personal and a global level add weight to their arguments. The authors demonstrate wide-ranging knowledge and enthusiasm as they urge even skeptical readers to consider the benefits of a new relationship paradigm.
An enjoyable, thought-provoking approach to addressing conflicts between two people and between nations.