When the Berlin Wall collapsed on November 9, 1989—signaling the end of the Cold War—America and the West declared victory: Democracy and free markets had prevailed and the United States emerged as the world’s triumphant superpower. The finger-on-the-button tension that had defined a generation was over, and it seemed that peace was at hand.
The next twelve years rolled by in a haze of self-congratulation—what some now call a “holiday from history.” When that complacency shattered on September 11, 2001, setting the U.S. on a new and contentious path, confused Americans asked themselves: How did we get here?
In America Between the Wars, Derek Chollet and James Goldgeier examine how the decisions and debates of the years between the fall of the Wall on 11/9 and the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11 shaped the events, arguments, and politics of the world we live in today. Reflecting the authors’ deep expertise and broad access to key players across the political spectrum, this book tells the story of a generation of leaders grappling with a moment of dramatic transformation—changing how we should think about the recent past, and uncovering important lessons for the future.