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James Wickham

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The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War
The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War
Price: £5.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good narrative, but rather conventional judgements and at times ..., 29 Aug. 2014
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A good narrative, but rather conventional judgements and at times some of the descriptions of the actors seems to be an attempt to create human interest rather than any serious analysis.


The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914
The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914
Price: £7.68

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Controversial and frightening, 29 Aug. 2014
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Clark seems to argue that the Great War was everyone's fault and nobody's fault. It is a terrifying account of the pressures on all sides that pushed European states into the conflagration. It makes approachable use of game theory to show the mutual interaction of the participants pushed them further and further into a situation where war became more and more likely. At the same time, Clark does not write history backwards, so nothing is inevitable. This enables a positive assessment of the strength of the Austro-Hungarian Empire as a political system - instead of just assuming it was doomed. The account of Serbian irredentism is revealing, and unfortunately still relevant to understanding contemporary events!
Especially in Germany Clark has been criticised for under-estimating the particular strength of German militarism, and I think the critics are right. There is such a strong focus on the mutual pressures for war that he under-estimates the diversity in the different participants. Nonetheless, when you finish reading the book you realise how easily conflicts can escalate - a warning for today!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 12, 2014 11:28 PM BST


Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class
Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class
Price: £6.64

3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful and furious book, 29 Aug. 2014
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A wonderful and furious book. Ok political conclusions a bit simplistic, but Owen Jones has done a great service, highlighting the elitism and arrogance of much that passes for progressive social commentary in Britain today. The criticism of bien-pensant multi-culturalism is important: He argues that British multi-culturalism means that the escalating social inequality has been understood largely in terms of ethnicity, so that the white working class becomes just another ethnic group - which then at worst can be attacked for being inherently racist or at best pitied as a marginalised minority


O. Winston Link: Life Along the Line: A Photographic Portrait of America's Last Great Steam Railroad
O. Winston Link: Life Along the Line: A Photographic Portrait of America's Last Great Steam Railroad
by Scott Lothes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £22.95

5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book, 6 Aug. 2013
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Link's photographs of the last days of mainline steam engines in the USA are justly famous, and this book has lots of them.. However, it's hardly just for fans of those wonderful machines. The book shows Link in the great tradition of American populist photography, finding beauty and even heroism in the everyday life of ordinary folks. It is also a fascinating social documentary of small-town and rural America in the middle of the last century.


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