It was hardly to be expected that the sesquicentennial might come and go without the Civil War’s most preeminent historian offering his thoughts on the subject, and James McPherson has not let us down. Not that The War that Forged a Nation is in any direct sense a comment on or reaction to the sesquicentennial; it is neither.
For all historians of this last, most violent, century some concern with matters of war and peace has been unavoidable.
In late 1909, a suffragette attacked the Asquith government’s youthful President of the Board of Trade, slashing his face with a whip as he prepared to give a speech in Bristol station. Briefly stunned, he fell toward the station’s tracks at the same moment a train pulled out of the station.
In 1984, Ernest May published Knowing One’s Enemies which examined intelligence assessments of enemies made by various nations before both the First and Second World Wars.
This is a curate’s egg book, good in parts but distinctly not in others.
There were times during the resurgence of the economic crisis in 2015 when it seemed as if ‘Greek-bashing’ had become a pan-European pastime.
Early in 2015, journalists reporting on US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders produced a potentially valuable nugget of opposition research: in 1985, Sanders visited Nicaragua as part of a delegation of US solidarity groups that was given a personal audience with Sandinista president Daniel Ortega.(1) In his first political memoir, published with Verso Bo
Susan Pedersen’s title misleads. The unwary might think that it deals generally with the League and imperialism, centring on the well-known paradox that an institution created primarily to ensure stability in Europe was undermined and then effectively destroyed by its failure to stop imperialist aggression in Asia and Africa.
For more than 75 years the historiographical debate surrounding the appeasement policy of the 1930s has centred upon the notorious 1940 publication Guilty Men, in which a trio of left-leaning British journalists unleashed a vitriolic polemic castigating those men responsible for leading a hopelessly ill-prepared Britain into a catastrophic war.
We have here two very different books utilizing two very different approaches to essentially the same period of history in Europe. And while the differences are enormous, each is excellent in its own way and both are major contributions to the historiography of Europe in the first half of the 20th century.