Destined for War

Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?
Narrated by: Richard Ferrone
Length: 12 hrs and 43 mins
Categories: History, Military
4.5 out of 5 stars (614 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

War with China is much more likely than anyone thinks.

When Athens went to war with Sparta some 2,500 years ago, the Greek historian Thucydides identified one simple cause: A rising power threatened to displace a ruling one. As the eminent Harvard scholar Graham Allison explains, in the past 500 years, great powers have found themselves in "Thucydides's Trap" 16 times. In 12 of the 16 - from war between the French and the Habsburgs in the 16th century to the two world wars of the 20th - the results have been catastrophic. Today, the same structural forces propel China and the United States toward a cataclysm of unseen proportions, even as both sides insist that such a war could never occur.

In Destined for War, Allison compares the US-China conflict to its closest parallel: World War I. There, a rising Germany threatened the supremacy of the British Empire. He sketches several scenarios in which America and China might slide, against their intent and better judgment, into a similar conflict. But he also examines the rare instances when two clashing powers have avoided disaster. Can our current standoff be one of those exceptions? Allison's answer is essential listening for our age and ages to come.

©2017 Graham Allison (P)2017 Recorded Books

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Diverges

Uses the Thucydides theme for a while then diverges into an exposition on world history that is only tangental to the US/China situation.

1 person found this helpful

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I'm so glad I got this on audio book!

This was fantastic, capturing and maintaining my attention through every word. I learned an incredible amount and broadened my perspective.

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Balances, Counter-Balances and Traps

Great book. was a recommendation for class reading. glad I did. It proved to illuminate and portray in concrete terms the seemingly abstract theories of International Relations.

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Learned a ton

I will never look at the US china, cool war, or WWII dynamics in the same way again. great book

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A brilliant work!

Graham Allison, the distinguished former head of the Kennedy School of Government, has written a fascinating book about the perils involved when the most powerful nation in the world is threatened by the rising power of a rival nation. In many cases over the centuries this has led to war but not always. This is Thucydides's Trap. Professor Allison identifies at least 16 instances since the late 16th century when a weaker, but rising nation threatens the dominant nation. In many cases war resulted, but not always. He discusses the reasons why war occurs, and why it did not occur.

I highly recommend the book for anyone interested in war, it's causes, ways of preventing it, etc. The reader does an outstanding job.

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Well Done

A great work that has shed light into a number of shadowy corners of today and yesterday.

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must read for any political science student

Graham alison gives us a comprehensive history of Thucydides's Trap. This describes China-US current relations and gives an optimistic solution, for whom it may concern, to an ominous issue.

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Thought provoking and well researched.

I enjoyed the book as a tool to compare and contrast with others in the same subject area. It is well written and researched.

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Great place to start-

the basic theory of the ...trap gives the reader a lot of food for thought

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Theoretically fundamental, but not inevitable nor statistically sound.

You can’t debate the human and evolutionary dynamics of the trap leading to conflict. One can seen in nature every day. The trap is real. The real question is are the participants situationally aware enough to avoid war. One that note the book is a good review of the trap’s mechanisms, using history’s great examples.

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