This is a very puzzling book. To judge by its title and some of its contents, its subject is the attempt to create a world order on the basis of two competing principles, adumbrated respectively in the West and in Russia. Those two principles are summed up in the figures of Montesquieu and Marx, whose ideas on social order are briefly set out in the first two chapters.
There is a sense in which, in the twentieth century, the history of Europe is the history of Germany: German history cannot be isolated from war, cold war, superpower conflict, European integration, and the developments of Germany's European neighbours to the west, east, north and south. for the twists and turns of its history have shaped the major moments in European history.
Historians of Soviet foreign policy and the Second World War will welcome the arrival of Garbriel Gorodetskys Grand Delusion: Stalin and the German Invasion of Russia, the first study of Soviet decision-making between the Nazi-Soviet pact and the outbreak of the German-Soviet war to be based upon thorough research in Soviet as well as western archives.
This is a wide-ranging collection of sources that aims to cover the whole sweep of Soviet history: Richard Sakwa's work on the politics of the Soviet Union makes him well placed to produce such a volume.
The aim of Roderick McLean's book is to assert the continuing importance of monarchs in European politics in the decades immediately before 1914.
John Charmley is, of course, no stranger to controversy.... How tempting it would be to begin a review of his latest book in this vein.
Research into the origins of the First World War, like the work undertaken on most controversial historical topics, is subject, at least to some extent, to the dictates of scholarly fashion. Thus, it was that, not so long ago, much of the writing on this issue focused on the cultural factors that, it is said, predisposed the people of Europe to rush headfirst towards the precipice.
Despite spurious claims being made in some quarters about 'a new consensus',(1) the history of fascism remains a bitterly contested area, even if, notwithstanding the Irving Trial, most contests occur in the seminar room rather than the courtroom.
I came to review this book with a great deal of anticipation. MacGregor Knox has been working for a long time on a comparative analysis of the fascist dictatorships, and is one of a line of US or US-trained historians who have breathed life into the recent study of contemporary European history by using a comparative approach.
In reviewing Mark Cornwall's monumental study of 'front propaganda by and against the Habsburg Monarchy in the First World War, I feel I ought to register a certain personal interest.