A good alternative title for this book would be "101 Ways not to De-Colonize your Empire." A relentless narrative of bungling first by the British & French as they struggled to either hang on to their colonies or escape from them with minimal fuss in the post 1945 world, then even more massive bungling by the superpowers, particularly the Americans, as they sought to influence the said former colonies to follow their particular political path and not that of their rivals. This is a litany of failure, scathing in its condemnation of inept colonial administration and even more inept superpower meddling in the affairs of small nations. This is no dry academic text, the author injects passion and some venom into the story, describing one American ambassador as a "drunken idiot" and lashing John F. Kennedy's philandering and his dealings with Cuba virtually in the same breath. Truman, Eisenhower and Johnson are treated more sympathetically, although the failings of their administrations are not spared. On the British side, Churchill, Eden and Macmillan are lavished with mild contempt and occassional faint praise in their struggles to first hold the Empire together, then to extract an exhausted Britain with the minimum of bother and expense. This is an enthralling read, short, punchy chapters keeping the momentum going as the author hops the globe from troublespot to benighted troublespot. Even the geographically illiterate and politically uninterested will find this an intriguing story of human greatness and weakness, hopes raised and hopes dashed. Great discussion of a turbulent couple of decades that shaped the world we live in today.