In the Shadow of War

Western society tends to see disaster all around, from climate change to terrorism. But we live in a time of unbridled prosperity. Our age has nowhere near as great a measure of crisis as the age of total war.

Issue: Jan-Feb 2010

Richard Bessel, Germany 1945: From War to Peace (New York: HarperCollins, 2009) 544 pp., $28.99.


[amazon 0060540362 full] THE CURRENT fashion for seeing disaster .all around us in the Western world, from climate change to "global" terrorism, needs to be tempered by some solid understanding of just what disaster is really like. The current fears reflect the fact that for more than half a century the West has been sheltered from the violence and hardships of many of the less fortunate areas of the world. An age of unprecedented economic growth and personal security, the absence of major wars among the great powers, the current concern with rights and enablement, all these have contributed to an exaggerated sensitivity to risk.

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