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Destined for War

Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?
Written by: Graham Allison
Narrated by: Richard Ferrone
Length: 12 hrs and 43 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 37.53
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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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  • G. Hutcheson
  • PALO ALTO, CA, United States
  • 2018-12-29

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • MindinMotion
  • 2018-11-21

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 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • David Geaney
  • COLLEGE PARK, MD, US
  • 2018-10-09

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Joyce U. Olewe
  • Houston, TX United States
  • 2017-10-09

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-02-14

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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  • Michael F. Solecki
  • 2019-01-04

Great place to start-

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

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  • DOLLA' BILL YALL
  • 2018-12-21

Decent reading

Book seemed well researched and narrator performed well. It does get a bit fanciful when discussing a hypothetical collision between US and Chinese naval vessels. Author jumps to conclusions as to what the actions of each nation would be. I had to skip that part because it was just absurd. Otherwise the history of the 16 rising powers as well as lots of data such as GDP figures etc. are incorporated into the narrative in a meaningful way.

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  • Troy Do
  • 2018-12-19

Excellent and thought provoking book.

One of the most popular books in the US Navy library. A must read of all Chinese leader.

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  • Expat back home
  • EU
  • 2018-12-19

The most important book you will read this year

Allison has written a profoundly important book. It's a bit depressing though.
You can tell the book was mostly written before Trump was elected. Sadly, the book's central thesis is that we are not "destined" for war with the Chinese.... it all depends on what we do and how we behave.
Unfortunately, the current President of the United States, is doing all the wrong things and making it much more likely that we have a very unfortunate conflict with the next global power.

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  • Michael Flora
  • 2018-12-10

Vital Foreign Perspectives

This book was greatly useful in helping me gain a rounded understanding of US-China relations. Not only did it articulate cultural and historical contingencies between our two nations, the author did an outstanding job at formulating the basis of knowledge for a two-millennia old pattern of destruction. If we do not remember the past we are destined to repeat it, and Graham Allison provided detailed accounts of how that has happened before, and will happen again if we are not diligent in our efforts.

The narration was easy to listen too, and the book has been altogether extremely valuable knowledge. Well done!