Quincy Wright (review date July 1958)
SOURCE: A review of “A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace, 1812–1822,” in The American Historical Review, Vol. 68, No. 4, July, 1958, pp. 953–55.
[In the following review, Wright offers a positive assessment of A World Restored, concluding that Kissinger skillfully explores and interprets international relations in the post-Napoleonic period.]
This book [A World Restored] is less a history of Europe's defeat of, and reconstruction after, Napoleon than an interpretation of that history in universal terms. The author recognizes that history does not repeat itself exactly, but he insists that the problems of different periods, the methods of dealing with them, and the motivation of the actors may be similar. Consequently, “generalization” may be “abstracted from the uniqueness of individual experience.” He seldom makes explicit an analogy between the post-Napoleonic and post-Hitlerian periods, but the alert reader is continuously aware of an implicit analogy. The Russia of Tsar Alexander and that of Stalin were similar in manifesting “the indeterminacy of a [revolutionary] policy of absolute Moral claims.” The France of Napoleon and the Germany of Hitler were similar in manifesting “the [revolutionary] claims of power, as the France of Talleyrand and the Germany of Adenauer were similar in repudiating revolution and supporting moderation, restoration and unity. The Britain of Castlereagh and the United States of Roosevelt, each in its time on the periphery of world politics with a tradition of isolation, were similar in marrying the conception of equilibrium to that of collective security, maintained by recognition of the self-evident advantages of peace.” The Austria of Metternich and the Britain of Churchill, each in its time conservative and in the center of world...
(The entire section is 776 words.)