Author: Fredrik Stanton
Publisher: Westholme Publishing, LLC
ISBN: 978-1-59416-099-8

Click Here To Purchase Great Negotiations: Agreements that Changed the Modern World

It is not an easy task to choose certain events or treaties that changed the modern world, as undoubtedly you invariably will leave out other significant world changing events that could have been included.

That said, Fredrik Stanton's Great Negotiations: Agreements that Changed the Modern World has done an excellent job in analyzing the bargaining process and interactions among the principal players concerning eight very important negotiations, namely:

  • Franklin at the French Court in 1778:

  • The Louisiana Purchase, 1803

  • The Congress of Vienna 1814-1815

  • The Portsmouth Treaty, 1905

  • The Paris Peace Conference, 1919

  • The Egyptian-Israeli Armistice Agreement, 1949

  • The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962

  • The Reykjavik Summit, 1986

In his introduction, Stanton informs us: “Words as much as weapons, shape history. Whether to avert, assist, or secure the resolution of a conflict, in the modern age, diplomacy has had great triumphs and bitter failures.” With this in mind, Great Negotiations sets out to take a fascinating look as to how each of these negotiations averted wars or restructured the world that had an everlasting impact on history. The more we understand what has been successful in the past and the mistakes to avoid, the less frequent countries may resort to wars to settle their differences.

Reading this book reminded me of being a fly on the wall, where I was privy to some of the most fascinating historical deliberations. What is striking, as Stanton mentions, is that there existed a common denominator prevalent among all of the actors in that they were facing challenges where they were obliged to bring home a deal on the best terms against competing forces. And, “as a result, one finds strategic patterns, as well as recurring elements of persistence and the ability to capitalize on the unexpected.” In addition, reading about these negotiations, we get as much information out of what it does not say as we get out of what it does say.

When you look back on some of these negotiations, such as The Louisiana Purchase of 1803, how can you not be impressed with US negotiator, Robert Livingston's statement: “The treaty we have signed has not been obtained by art nor dictated by force; equally advantageous to the two contracting parties, it will change vast solitudes into a flourishing country. Today the United States takes its place among powers of the first rank.” And how about Robert Kennedy's sum up of the Cuban Missile Crisis when he asserted that the final lesson of this crisis “is the importance of placing ourselves in the other country's shoes.” As noted in the book, President Kennedy spent a great deal of time trying to determine the effect of a particular course of action on Khrushchev or the Russians than on anything else he was doing at the time.

In bringing these negotiations to light in an informative and engaging manner, Stanton has succeed in reminding us that the more we understand what has been successful in the past and the mistakes to avoid, the less frequent countries may resort to wars to settle their differences.

As an added plus, Stanton has included such resources as footnotes to every chapter and an extensive bibliography thus making Great Negotiations a useful educational source as well as a tool for those readers who wish to do future study.

Fredrik Stanton is the former president and publisher of the Columbia Daily Spectator, and he has written for the Boston Herald and the United Nations Association's A Global Agenda. He was an election monitor in Armenia, Republic of Georgia, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Azerbaijan.


Click Here To Purchase Great Negotiations: Agreements that Changed the Modern World