Review by Choice Review
At one level, this clearly written book is a straightforward comparative study of Czechoslovakia on th eve of WW II, of Poland between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union from 1939 to 1945, and of Finland during the Winter War of 1940. After a brief introduction, Cohen describes how each of these nations coped with crises that took three forms: confrontation by vastly superior enemies; lack of support from putative allies; and descent into the disaster of war. Cohen has drawn upon very good and current scholarship, and the story he tells is clearly and even powerfully presented. At another level, however, this book is a study that has considerable relevance to the author's home country. Cohen is, at heart, seeking lessons from history as to what Israel can do to enhance its chance of survival when confronted by (as he puts it) "a terrifying neighbor." A former Israeli diplomat and member of the Knesset, Cohen always draws his conclusions carefully and cautiously, and he does not overgeneralize or argue irresponsibly from analogy and apparent historical parallels. This is a stimulating and thought-provoking book, nowhere moreso than in its conclusion that a small nation's fate lies primarily in its own hands. College, university, and public libraries. P. W. Knoll University of Southern California
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
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