Sacred Causes: Religion And Politics From The European Dictators To Al Qaeda Hardcover – 2 Oct 2006
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‘This is an even better book than the author's erudite, dense sprawling triumph of last year, “Earthly Powers”…[“Sacred Causes”] benefits from a continual drip feed of very dry and very black humour…There is still Burleigh's great gift, the mark of the very best historians, to wring meaning and significance from those most arcane footnotes in history, stuff which others might designate mere ephemera…History is rarely rendered in such thrilling breadth, with such wit or with such terrible topicality.’ Rod Liddle, Spectator
‘Michael Burleigh forged a formidable reputation as a historian of Germany and consolidated it with “Earthly Powers”…“Sacred Causes” takes the story up to the present day. Its first half addresses in masterly fashion the relationship between the churches and the totalitarians…impressive…formidable…his book deserves the widest possible readership.’ Sunday Times
‘It is this that makes “Sacred Causes” so valuable: the tiny details that might be written off as mere human interest but that over and again reveal a subhuman sump of murderous impiety.’ New Statesman
‘Michael Burleigh is a man of formidable erudition and remarkable percipience…Burleigh last year published “Earthly Powers”…“Sacred Causes” brings the story up to the present date…Burleigh has, if anything, surpassed his earlier achievement…Burleigh's book is epic in its range…refreshingly unjudgemental…compelling…outstanding…this brilliant book proves that history has no end.’ Literary Review
‘This work should be read by everyone…Burleigh is one of our brightest historical stars – his massive erudition and passionate moral sense tempered with merciless wit. Beautifully written, fearlessly outspoken, full of superb portraits of heroes and monsters, “Sacred Causes” is an exuberant tour-de force.’ Evening Standard
‘Compelling…hugely ambitious…Burleigh is a writer who pulls no punches and seldom leaves a difficult question unasked.’ Sunday Telegraph
‘This is an even better book than…“Earthly Powers”…terrific and very funny…history is rarely rendered in such thrilling breadth, with such wit or with such terrible topicality.’ The Spectator
‘Splendid…magnificent…few historians would be able to cover such enormous tracts of ground so convincingly, but Burleigh also leavens his narrative with hefty chunks of opinion, wit and sheer mischief that make it a pleasure to read…a terrifically entertaining book.’ Daily Telegraph
‘In years to come, Michael Burleigh's two-volume study of secular hubris since the French Revolution may well be judged to be the most significant work of history published this decade…Burleigh is a fine and contentious writer and a hugely accomplished historian’ The Observer
‘“Sacred Causes” is a challenging history book with the power to scandalise its readers…Michael Burleigh is a trenchant, conservative historian who does not waste or mince words. His sharp judgements…bring alive his extensive research…for those who think that the Christian religion provides only footnotes to the history of the 20th century…this book is an important corrective.’ Financial Times
‘A brilliant account of the sinister fusion of religion and politics…frank and never afraid to ruffle any feathers…a powerful indictment of our uneasy times.’ J.G.Ballard
About the Author
Michael Burleigh is Distinguished Research Professor in Modern History at Cardiff University. He is the author of seven well-received books, including ‘Earthly Powers’ and ‘The Third Reich’, for which he was awarded the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2001.
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Top Customer Reviews
Concerning the first question, the book interweaves politics and religion to the point where only a genuine interest in both would be enough to sustain the reader's interest. The subject matter is "heavy" anyway, and this coupled with the book's length mean that only the most interested need apply. Concerning the second question, this is most certainly not neutral, with Burleigh's views abundantly clear throughout, no more so than in his chapter on Northern Ireland, with his views expressed with somewhat unnerving ferocity. Having said that, his frankness throughout is a refreshing change to many history books, with their historians desperately trying to walk a neutral tight-rope so as to be all things to all readers, but not Burleigh. As a result, the heavy subject matter is much more digestible, punctuated with his frank statements that can at time genuinely amuse.
Concerning the third question, Burleigh's vocabulary is aimed at a highly educated audience, and he writes in such a way that assumes the reader has a very good background knowledge of the C20th and its political history.Read more ›
It is written from a strongly Catholic perspective, and Burleigh puts forward a robust defense of the Roman Catholic church against charges that it did nothing to try to prevent the Holocaust.
One of Burleigh's most important contributions in this book is his outline of the sterling role played by the Christian Democratic Parties in Western Europe, in both helping their countries to overcome the evil legacy of Nazism, and preventing the spread to their countries of the equally evil Communist tyranny.
As a traditional Jew, I can say that my communitarian pro-traditionalist and pro-national self-determination outlook (and my belief in a socially responsible market economy as opposed to laissez faire libertarianism), is very similar to an equivalent of the Christian Democrat philosophy, and I believe to prevent a victory by the dark forces of Satanic Islamo-Nazism, a variant of this philosophy needs to be re-established.
Beginning with the rise of Nazism and Fascism in Germany and Italy,the author explains how the knee jerk reaction of the Left to label everyone to the right of them as a "Fascist" blinded them to the genuine phenomenon, and how Leftist parties refused to co-operate with the moderate and Christian forces to stop Nazism and Fascism, thus bearing some responsibility for the the rise of these regimes.
Already by the 1920s predictions abounded of apocalypse and the end of days.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In this 557 page long brilliantly written book on the impact of religion in the European history, Michael Burleigh, one of the leading historians of our times and author of... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
I read the first 150 pages and then couldn't endure it any longer. Bleak, bleak, bleak. Fragmentary information. Affirmations. Read morePublished on 5 April 2012 by Johan Janssens
"Sacred Causes" is an interesting read about the combination of religion and European politics in the 20th century. Read morePublished on 18 Feb. 2009 by Basileus
Gave up on this book after a few chapters. Found the author to be a narrow minded arse quite frankly. Read morePublished on 21 Aug. 2008 by I. Bain
Not so much a history book a propaganda exercise for the Judeo-christian right-wing.
The author's subjective view of the latter part of the 20th century is so far removed from... Read more
This isn't an easy book; the author has his views, based on a Conservative [his brother-in-law is/was a Tory MP], Roman Catholic perspective, a perspective I don't share. Read morePublished on 5 July 2008 by Davey
Am I alone in thinking that this title is overrated by the critics? I found it very turgid and heavy going. Read morePublished on 29 May 2008 by RH
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