A solid argument for the repurposing, reforming, and upgrading of the alliance system.



A fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations makes a convincing argument for the importance of maintaining America's alliance system despite the targeted criticism by the current administration.

In this brief academic study, Rapp-Hooper argues persuasively that the complex alliance system instituted after the devastation of World War II has proven remarkably successful. “After two global catastrophes in just twenty-five years,” writes the author, “[survivors] were seared with reminders of why Washington should want to craft and fund security alliances,” which “were necessary to deter and defend against the Soviet Union, to reassure war-torn partners in Europe and Asia, and to prevent further conflict.” Yet the memory of this conflict is growing weak. Rapp-Hooper moves chronologically, from the Founding Fathers' arguments against "entangling alliances" (after shedding French help and influence) to the necessity of aiding France and Britain against the German blockade of the Atlantic coast in 1916. Originally, thanks to America's fortuitous geography and the caution of the founders, the U.S. had avoided alliances—until the "extraordinary emergencies" of World War II. The global spread of technology had finally rendered the American homeland vulnerable, and the Korean War demonstrated that the U.S. and its partners needed to "assemble a durable military infrastructure"—hence the birth of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The author offers astute "counterfactual" scenarios—e.g., what if America had not ringed the Soviet Union with allied bases, which allowed it to maintain the pressure of defense and deterrence during the Cold War? (Probably more wars.) Rapp-Hooper also delves into the political costs and perils of alliances, such as entrapment and free-riding, and the pros and cons of Bill Clinton's expansion of NATO. With Donald Trump's active animosity toward our traditional allies, the author cautions about a glaring blind spot: rising nonmilitary coercion from China and Russia.

A solid argument for the repurposing, reforming, and upgrading of the alliance system. (5 illustrations, 2 tables, 1 map)

Pub Date: June 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-674-98295-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.



Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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