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The cover of C. A. Bayly's new book is stunning. A handsome black man stands poised, next to the bust of a European philosopher. Blazoned across the corner of the cover is 'A Masterpiece', the judgement of Niall Ferguson, current favourite historian of the US media, on Bayly's book.
Confucius once remarked that rulers need three resources: weapons, food and trust. The ruler who cannot have all three should give up weapons first, then food, but should hold on to trust at all costs: 'without trust we cannot stand'.(1) Machiavelli disagreed.
Revolution is a phenomenon that has haunted the pages of history, whether as reality or as a Spectre conjured up by Karl Marx. Of late it has traveled far and wide, and Fred Halliday has followed it to far-off places - Cuba, southern Arabia, Iran - in the quest of history in the making. Among the many revealing points he takes note of are the names that men have given to it (pp.
Ernest Gellner, who died on 5 November 1995, was one of the great polymaths of the century. Many of his twenty books were concerned with philosophy, sociology and anthropology. Yet at the core of his work was an historical question.