Picking Up the Reins: America, Britain, and the Postwar World

Judith Thurman, Author . Overlook/Duckworth $30 (143p) ISBN 978-1-59020-145-9

A precarious world recuperating from the horrors of WWII and clawing for stability emerges in former BBC producer and author Moss’s portrait of Britain and America in the postwar world. While today American dominance may seem an inevitable fact, Moss outlines how a crumbling Great Britain “turned over its now-faded world leadership to the United States.” With great attention to historical details, Moss (Klaus Fuchs ) evinces the various American motivations for accepting that position: to limit the Communist threat, which in turn would limit the need for future defense spending; to unite the disparate European nations and secure the American ideal of “free institutions”; and to maintain European markets for American goods. Moss describes the political and diplomatic give-and-take that led to the Marshall Plan, NATO and other steps that made America a world power. Very informative, this book will also entertain readers with Moss’s irreverent metaphors (he compares Ernest Bevin’s reluctance to become entangled in European alliances to “a commitment-phobic man on a date”). It’s a timely analysis of the development of America’s role in international diplomacy at a time when the world’s balance of power could again shift. Photos. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/16/2009
Release date: 05/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 144 pages - 978-0-7156-3870-5
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