The National Securiy Council (NSC) is the most important format institution in the U.S. governmettt for the creation and implementation of foreign and defense policy. The Council's four principal members - the President, Vice President, Secretary of State, and Secretary of Defense - are responsible for incredibly far-reaching décisions regarding war and pence, diplomacy, international trade, and covert operations. Despite its obvions importance, the NSC lias been subject to relatively little scholarly scrutiny, and therefore retnains misunderstood hy most international relations students. Fateful Décisions: Inside the National Security Council provides students with valuable insights into the origins, workings, strengths, and weaknesses of the NSC. Covering the period from 1947 to 2003, Fateful Decisions features seminal articles, essays, and documents drawn front a variety of sources. The book presents and illuminates several obscure documents regarding the beginning of the NSC and its early years. It then examines the transformation of the NSC from a newly establislied, and initially ignored, advisory committee to the nation's premier forum for national security deliberations. The selections - written by prominent scholars, journalists, and practitioners - offer revealing coverage of major topics, such as key challenges to the NSC and the rote of the NSC in a post-Cold War environnent. The articles also discuss the rise of the National Security Adviser to a position of prominence and provide profiles of those who have held the position. including McCeorge Bundy, Henry Kissinger. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Bretnt Scowcroft, Samuel Berger, and Condoleezza Rice. Chronicling the performance of the NSC over the years, Fateful Décisions dissects both its successes and its failures - from the Caban Missile Crisis through the Ran-contra affair, to the carrent war against global terrorism - and offers reform proposals to inprove the Council's performance. It is ideal for courses on the NSC, national security décision-making, and U.S. foreign policy.