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Tag Archives: cold war

The Civil War as Revolution

Share the post "The Civil War as Revolution" Americans tend to forget that our Revolution was also a civil war, and our Civil War was also a revolution. The War for Independence is overshadowed by the drama of inspired statesmen creating an entirely new Republic. Only military specialists care whether George Washington was lucky or skillful as a general. What matters is that he could have seized absolute power and didn’t. Our collective memory of the Civil War is...

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Stunning Sympathy

Share the post "Stunning Sympathy" The evolution of photography seems to correspond with our modern capacity for sympathy. Someone in a Facetime conversation feels more present than a news clip from a month ago, while that clip feels livelier than just a picture, and so on and so forth. The Technicolored half of the Wizard of Oz is supposed to touch our imagination more than the first, and the subjects of black-and-white film still seem more accessible than the men and...

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How to Lose a War

Share the post "How to Lose a War" Review of Elie Baranets, Comment perdre une guerre : Une théorie du contournement démocratique (CNRS Editions, 2017) In November 1968, Daniel Ellsberg wrote a review of a book-length debate with multiple contributors entitled Can We Win in Vietnam? In it, the RAND Institute analyst, who was involved in the planning of American foreign policy, expressed his frustration with how the public debate about America’s involvement in Vietnam...

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Sexual Freedom and its Opposites

Share the post "Sexual Freedom and its Opposites" Sex and Secularism is an intellectually erudite and politically powerful intervention into a contemporary Western common sense: with secularism comes gender equality (even if that promise is endlessly deferred), and secularism’s progressive gender politics stands as the antithesis of the anti-emancipatory essence of Islam. Scott argues instead that “gender inequality was fundamental to the articulation of the separation...

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Tocqueville, soixante-huitard?

Share the post "Tocqueville, soixante-huitard?" In a recent post, I began to address Tocqueville’s Cold War legacy, specifically the narrative in which Tocqueville became an authority that could be invoked in the service of Western capitalism as effectively as Marx was in defense of Communism. There is much truth to this narrative, but I believe this discussion is a good opportunity to bring attention to an interesting counterexample in the story of how Cold War...

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Oui to Tocqueville!

Share the post "Oui to Tocqueville!" I’ve been on the road quite a bit over the last few weeks and haven’t had much time to post, so I’m coming to this a little late, but there’s a provocative essay on Tocqueville by Ben Judah out in The American Interest, entitled “Non to Tocqueville!” Given the title of that piece and the title of this blog, you will probably not be surprised that I have some serious criticisms of Judah’s argument. But before I get there, let me...

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Culture and War: Edith Wharton’s 1918

Share the post "Culture and War: Edith Wharton’s 1918" Edith Wharton at her estate in Massachusetts with Henry James and Howard Sturgis This past February, the Times Literary Supplement published a translation of Edith Wharton’s lecture, “France and Its Allies at War: The Witnesses Speak.” It’s a curious little speech, delivered in French during a wartime series in February 1918, that tries to articulate the culture clash between the US and France. Wharton is best known...

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Book Review: Combatants of Muslim Origin in European Armies in the Twentieth Century: Far from Jihad

In Combatants of Muslim Origin in European Armies in the Twentieth Century: Far from Jihad, Xavier Bougarel, Raphaëlle Branche and Cloé Drieu offer a collection attending to the everyday experiences and practices of the Muslim combatants who fought in the ranks of various European armies, but have hitherto been neglected in many existing historical studies. The book’s non-Anglocentric approach makes it essential reading for scholars looking to deepen their understanding of the world wars,...

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Book Review: The Holocaust: A New History by Laurence Rees

Drawing on 25 years of research, The Holocaust: A New History offers a new major treatment of the Holocaust that traces events in their entirety from their origins to their horrifying conclusions. Gary Wilson praises Laurence Rees for this eminently readable account, which offers definitive insight into this appalling history.  The Holocaust: A New History. Laurence Rees. Viking. 2017. Find this book:  It is over 30 years since Martin Gilbert’s epic history of the Holocaust was published, and...

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Book Review: Re-Making Kozarac: Agency, Reconciliation and Contested Return in Post-War Bosnia by Sebina Sivac-Bryant

In Re-Making Kozarac: Agency, Reconciliation and Contested Return in Post-War Bosnia, Sebina Sivac-Bryant focuses her longitudinal study on the town of Kozarac in north-west Bosnia as one of the only successful examples of contested minority return following the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of the community in the 1990s. The book fills a significant gap in addressing questions of reconciliation, community rebuilding and trauma at the grass-roots level and will offer valuable lessons to researchers and...

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