To Build a Better World: Choices To End the Cold War and Create a Global Commonwealth

Twelve: Grand Central. Sept. 2019. 528p. notes. index. ISBN 9781538764671. $35; ebk. ISBN 9781538764664. POL SCI
In 1995, political scientists Zelikow and Rice published the influential study, Germany Unified and Europe Transformed. Here, they’ve updated and broadened that work, with former U.S. secretary of state Rice bringing much of her experience into their assessment of events and leaders. The central focus is on the significant changes in Europe between 1988 to 1992, though the authors also provide a useful overview and critique of global trade and foreign relations in the 1970s and 1980s. While German chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian president Vladimir Putin frame the book, the major players are former world leaders, such as Mikhail Gorbachev, George H.W. Bush, Helmut Kohl, Francois Mitterand, and Margaret Thatcher. The authors devote a long chapter to the choices made by Gorbachev that ultimately led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and revisit the dynamics of the reunification of Germany. A later section discusses the ongoing challenges in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the invasion of Iraq, the financial crisis of 2008, Brexit, and the Donald Trump presidency. Zelikow and Rice ask, “Can a confident America rise again?” They are hopeful but not entirely certain.
VERDICT While scholarly, this work is written with a light touch and tells compelling stories about choices made by a number of countries and their leaders. It will appeal both to scholars of international politics and informed readers.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing