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Twilight of the Titans
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About the Author

Paul K. MacDonald is associate professor of political science at Wellesley College. He is author of Networks of Domination. Joseph M. Parent is associate professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame. He is author of Uniting States and coauthor of American Conspiracy Theories.

Reviews

"A meaningful contribution to the debate about whether the decline of a great power is to be feared as a cause of war in the international system. Parent and McDonald took a big, important question and tried to find an answer by aggregating what we know about both great powers and their mid-level counterparts. It is not simply an interesting academic question; they make a very strong case that fighting preventive wars is self-defeating for declining powers."

* The Atlantic *

"A terrific contribution to the debate over the so-called Thucydides trap.... So much good data, smart analysis, and beautiful writing."

* War on the Rocks *

"Unique, convincing and important."

* Survival *

"The operative concepts in this volume are power, security, and interests and nary a word about identity and all that non-rationalist stuff of politics... Twilight of the Titans is tightly written and organized, with a brief index and copious notes."

* Choice *

"Paul MacDonald and Joseph Parent bring to book-length form a very sensible and persuasive argument that they have been making for some time. Great power decline is not necessarily dangerous or even destabilizing. Countries can pursue strategies of retrenchment, either of "self-help" by cutting back spending or rejuvenating their economy, or of external adjustment in paring back commitments or cementing new friendships. Such strategies, MacDonald and Parent argue, need not be destabilizing. The countries experiencing decline can regain strength and confidence."

-- Philip Zelikow, University of Virginia * H-Net *

"Twilight of the Titans provides perhaps the strongest counter to current pessimistic conventional wisdom on the dangers and challenges of the United States's decline vis-a-vis China as well as overall pessimism on the ability of major powers to act rationally and prudently. In lively prose, the authors present their theory crisply and clearly. They provide comprehensive empirical evaluation and are appropriately transparent about their methods. Twilight of the Titans will be relevant to a large swath of academic literature and has general implications for policy debates."

-- William C. Wohlforth, Daniel Webster Professor and Professor of Government, Dartmouth College

"Twilight of the Titans is an important contribution to the literature on the grand strategies of great powers. The authors focus specifically on the question of whether retrenchment can be a successful grand strategy for declining great powers. As MacDonald and Parent correctly note, this topic is important not only for the academic study of international politics but also has important policy implications for the growing debate about how the United States should respond to rise of China, and the relative decline of American power. Twilight of the Titans is a must read for those participating, or interested, in the debate about America's 21st century grand strategic options."

-- Christopher Layne, University Distinguished Professor of International Affairs, Texas A & M University

"Paul MacDonald and Joseph Parent bring to book-length form a very sensible and persuasive argument that they have been making for some time. Great power decline is not necessarily dangerous or even destabilizing. Countries can pursue strategies of retrenchment, either of "self-help" by cutting back spending or rejuvenating their economy, or of external adjustment in paring back commitments or cementing new friendships. Such strategies, MacDonald and Parent argue, need not be destabilizing. The countries experiencing decline can regain strength and confidence."

-- Philip Zelikow, White Burkett Miller Professor of History and J. Wilson Newman Professor of Governance at the Miller Center of Public Affairs, at the University of Virginia

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