The Fate of Nations identifies and illustrates the basic varieties of security policy, as well as re-interpreting six well-documented historical episodes: Great Britain and the nineteenth century balance of power system; France between the two world wars; The United States during the Cold War; China from the Communist victory in 1949 to 1976; Israel from the founding of the state in 1948 to the peace treaty with Egypt in 1979; Japan and the international economic order after 1945. Professor Mandelbaum shows that, while no state is wholly restricted by its position in the international system, neither is any entirely free from external constraints. He concludes that in this century, national security policies have been more prudent, even when unsuccessful, than they often retrospectively have been judged.
"Mandelbaum's book is brilliant and enjoyable...[he] charts how nations find ways of acting together in diplomatically organized groups for defensive purposes, and he analyzes certain countries' specific roles and histories. His knowledge of philosophy, politics, history and economics results in a stunning delineation of centuries of military actions, political maneuverings and cultural uprisings." Publishers Weekly "...the book displays a powerful analytic ability and is well worth reading." Naval War College Review "...thoughtful, stimulating, and enjoyable to read. Its breadth is commendable and points the way towards much needed holistic and multidisciplinary thinking about the international system." Barry Buzan, University of Warwick, in International Journal "This book is a tour de force. Michael Mandelbaum, an authority on the impact of the nuclear weapon on the contemporary world, has produced a synoptic history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries through the experiences of six developed nations with the problem of national security." Lawrence S. Kaplan, American Historical Review