Marton's qualifications to write a book about the Middle East are slightly higher than Bernadotte's were to make peace there, but in the end it comes to the same: two boy scouts setting up pup-tents in minefields.
Historians have recently begun to see the twentieth century as lasting from 1914 to 1989 (the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe) or to 1991 (the end of the Soviet Union), what Eric Hobsbawm in his new book calls "the short twentieth century.
Thomas Sowell's Race and Culture provides ample documentation as to the importance of culture as a component of human capital, one that is critical in determining individual and national performance. In his usual feisty way, Sowell is eager to deb
Nations, like people, view their past through emotional and psychological prisms. The normal course is for national history to become heroic myth--a saga of obstacles overcome, evil vanquished, national character triumphant.
Ernest Gellner's Conditions of Liberty is the best treatment of civil society to emerge from a post-Cold War perspective. Gellner himself these days is in Prague much of the time, studying the process of regeneration from the inside.
It is hard now for any director to have as foursquare a vision of civilization as John Ford did. Many contemporary directors have tried to revive the Western but they tend to get whipsawed by conflicting cultural vectors.
At one time conservatives like Castlereagh, nationalists like Bismarck and internationalists like Gladstone were all convinced that international order would be torn apart unless the interests of Great Powers were respected and kept in balance. Th