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The balance of power has been a central concept in the theory and practice of international relations for the past five hundred years. It has also played a key role in some of the most important attempts to develop a theory of international politics in the contemporary study of international relations. In this 2007 book, Richard Little establishes a framework that treats the balance of power as a metaphor, a myth and a model. He then uses this framework to reassess four major texts that use the balance of power to promote a theoretical understanding of international relations: Hans J. Morgenthau's Politics Among Nations (1948), Hedley Bull's The Anarchical Society (1977), Kenneth N. Waltz's Theory of International Politics (1979) and John J. Mearsheimer's The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (2001). These reassessments allow the author to develop a more comprehensive model of the balance of power.