Norman Stone has called this account of most of the second half of the twentieth century a personal history. I should also declare an interest: since I feature at least twice in his introduction as his very first research student, I might feel some justification in making this a personal review. The narrative begins properly, Stone tells us, in 1947, the year of my birth. This history is also my history; the things that Stone admires or rejects or teases are things that every intelligent observer of the past sixty years has views about. On a great many of them our views are at odds, but on some important issues he was probably more right in the long run than his precocious lefty pupil, hard though it might be to admit it.
Better, nevertheless, to leave these things aside. This is a serious book, which grapples with what Stone sees as the central dilemma of the half-century after the end of the Second World War: the manifold threats to the ‘Atlantic’ world, which despite winning the war remained embattled until