Liberation or Catastrophe?: Reflections on the History of the 20th Century

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9781847251596: Liberation or Catastrophe?: Reflections on the History of the 20th Century
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After a brief discussion about the meaning of 'modern' history, Michael Howard presents a fascinating analysis of the history of the 20th Century- laying much emphasis on the USA, where the author has spent much time as a Professor at Yale. It was Michael Howard who brought the study of military history into the mainstream of historical research and his readers will expect this as an emphasis in his analysis. They will expect less about suffragettes, human rights and the role of women. Howard`s concern is substantially with the role of the military in the developing story of the twentieth century. At the beginning of the twentieth century, nostalgia for a lost past seems to have permeated the whole of European culture. This was the time of bucolic idylls of English musicians and poets of the Edwardian age with revivals of folk music and yearning for blue remembered hills. But thirteen million men died in the First World War and an entire world died with them. By then only rational, bureaucratic, effectively modernized states could fight such wars, with weapons designed to inflict maximum destruction . The tone for a new century was set. For if the old order died with the First World War, something else far more powerful and sinister was born, the 'rough beast' of Yeats' apocalyptic poem, that was to dominates Europe for the rest of the century. In spite of the peace of 1945, it remains alive and flourishing in many parts of the world. Such in part is the thesis of this powerfully argued book but its sub themes are skilfully interwoven and propounded.

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About the Author:

Sir Michael Howard served with the British Army in Italy during the Second World War and was awarded a Military Cross. Thereafter he established the Department of War Studies at King's College London, which he left to become first Chilchele Professor of the History of War, and then Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford, ending his professional career as Robert A. Lovett Professor of Military and Naval History at Yale. He has been awarded The Order of Merit and is a Companion of Honour. In addition to his own History of the First World War, his works include The Franco-Prussian War, War in European History, and most recently Liberation or Catastrophe.

Review:

"An emphatic commentary... Pleasingly direct, occasionally humourous"—The First Post (The First Post)

"This is an excellent book ... It is not easy to craft a good lecture that reads well on the page, or vice versa for that matter; it is a trick that Sir Michael brings off brilliantly."Alistair Irwin, The Spectator (Alistair Irwin, The Spectator The Spectator)

"These essays are a wonderful reminder of just what a judicious, thoughtful, yet passively humane historial mind can tell us about the past and suggest to us about the future"Richard Overy, Literary Review, December 2007

"Michael Howard writes about what history suggest with regard to the present and the future—perhaps a reflection of time spent in combat in Italy against Germans, where he earned a Military Cross. In the 1950s Howard headed the Department of War Studies at King's College, London. He later co-founded the international Institute for Strategic Studies. This collection of Howard's lectures, developed between 1992 and 2003, will probably be his last book. In it he examines the larger framework of the 20th century, the German wars, the Cold War, Europe after the Cold War, and the War on Terrorism." —Williamson Murray, Military History, March/April 2008 (Williamson Murray, professor emeritus, Ohio State University, and senior fellow at the Institute of Defense Analysis)

'Howard has published another magisterial book'The Naval Review

"Howard's is a deeply humane voice of wisdom, that of a humanist in an age of ideology, warning us that history is there to teach us by example. We ignore those examples at our peril." Reviewed by Christopher Coker in Times Literary Supplement, 2008

"[A]n impressive work...This collection is particularly strong on the World Wars, the Cold War and the War on Terror." Reviewed by Professor Jeremy Black, The Historical Association

"An emphatic commentary... Pleasingly direct, occasionally humourous"—The First Post (Sanford Lakoff)

"This is an excellent book ... It is not easy to craft a good lecture that reads well on the page, or vice versa for that matter; it is a trick that Sir Michael brings off brilliantly."Alistair Irwin, The Spectator (Sanford Lakoff The Spectator)

"Michael Howard writes about what history suggest with regard to the present and the future—perhaps a reflection of time spent in combat in Italy against Germans, where he earned a Military Cross. In the 1950s Howard headed the Department of War Studies at King's College, London. He later co-founded the international Institute for Strategic Studies. This collection of Howard's lectures, developed between 1992 and 2003, will probably be his last book. In it he examines the larger framework of the 20th century, the German wars, the Cold War, Europe after the Cold War, and the War on Terrorism." —Williamson Murray, Military History, March/April 2008 (Sanford Lakoff)

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