Playing God

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Throughout time, leaders at the pinnacle of power - popes and kings, presidents and prime ministers, czars and generals - have subscribed to the belief that they can change the course of history, not by the force of arms, but through charm, skillful negotiation, honesty, deceit, and all the other arts of peaceful human exchange. Charles Mee, Jr. reproduces seven singular moments when heads of state have come together to decide the future of the world. He examines the uses of summitry, from the directness of Pope Leo's confrontation with Attila the Hun near Rome to Henry VIII and Francis I's meeting on the Field of the Cloth of Gold; from the surprise encounter between Cortes and Montezuma to the intricacies negotiated by Metternich and Talleyrand at the Congress of Vienna; from the ironies of Wilson, Clemenceau and Lloyd George's summit at the Paris Peace Conference to the unintended consequences of Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt's gathering at Yalta; and finally to Gorbachev's desperate appeal to the G7 nations in London to be included in their powerful club. Mee peeks through the curtains of diplomacy to reveal the hidden agendas and the glorious personalities at work. Taken together, these seven fateful moments are bracing and humbling reminders of the enormous complexity and mystery of human affairs.

©1993 by Charles L. Mee, Jr.; (P)1997 by Blackstone Audiobooks

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