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Book launch: Enduring Alliance: A History of NATO and the Postwar Global Order, by Timothy Andrews Sayle

  • Munk School of Global Affairs, First Floor Boardroom 315 Bloor Street West Toronto, ON, M5S 1W7 Canada (map)
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Born from necessity, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has always seemed on the verge of collapse. Even now, some seventy years after its inception, some consider its foundation uncertain and its structure weak. At this moment of incipient strategic crisis, Timothy A. Sayle offers a sweeping history of the most critical alliance in the post-World War II era.

In Enduring Alliance, Sayle recounts how the western European powers, along with the United States and Canada, developed a treaty to prevent encroachments by the Soviet Union and to serve as a first defense in any future military conflict. As the growing and unruly hodgepodge of countries, councils, commands, and committees inflated NATO during the Cold War, Sayle shows that the work of executive leaders, high-level diplomats, and institutional functionaries within NATO kept the alliance alive and strong in the face of changing administrations, various crises, and the flux of geopolitical maneuverings. Resilience and flexibility have been the true hallmarks of NATO.

As Enduring Alliance deftly shows, the history of NATO is organized around the balance of power, preponderant military forces, and plans for nuclear war. But it is also the history riven by generational change, the introduction of new approaches to conceiving international affairs, and the difficulty of diplomacy for democracies. As NATO celebrates its seventieth anniversary, the alliance once again faces challenges to its very existence even as it maintains its place firmly at the center of western hemisphere and global affairs.

"The logic, history, and analysis of Enduring Alliance are impeccable, and Timothy Andrews Sayle's account is particularly useful at this moment when the Atlantic partnership is on unsteady ground. A must-read for policymakers seeking to ensure the Pax Atlantic is the indispensable and truly enduring alliance of our times."
- Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret), Supreme Allied Commander at NATO, 2009-2013, and author of The Accidental Admiral

"Enduring Alliance is a deeply researched and engaging account of the complicated and consequential history of the United States and NATO. Sayle offers new insights, exposes various myths, and explores the complexities and challenges of this unique, oft-troubled, but resilient alliance. Must-read for scholars of history, security studies, and institutions, as well as anyone concerned about the state of NATO today."
- Francis J. Gavin, author of Nuclear Statecraft

"Enduring Alliance is an ambitious, wide-ranging, and much-needed book in the development of inter-alliance politics within NATO."
- Matthew Jones, London School of Economics, and author of After Hiroshima


"Timothy A. Sayle's Enduring Alliance abounds with keen insights and brilliant turns of phrase. Enduring Alliance excavates a vital history that speaks to our present moment and will be a valuable resource for scholars, students, and interested readers and policymakers."

- Christopher McKnight Nichols, Oregon State University, and author of Promise and Peril

"At a time when the president of the US is questioning the future of NATO, it is essential to understand the alliance's past. Timothy Andrews Sayle's engaging account shows why NATO came into being, how it has endured, and where it may be going. Highly recommended."

- Mary Sarotte, author of 1989

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