Isabel Hull

Isabel Hull teaches at Cornell. A Scrap of Paper: Breaking and Making International Law During the Great War was published in 2014, and reviewed in the LRB by Susan Pedersen.

Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro’s point is that ‘for all its problems, the New World Order is better than the Old.’ Theirs is a valuable reminder that law matters and that international co-operation is not a utopia, but a functioning reality. Recently, it has been hard to hear that truth above the din produced by bad actors, like Putin and Trump, and by criticism of the neoliberal order from the left and the populist right, which obscures the positive effects of internationalism. What’s more, we take for granted a world in which the assumption is that countries will not engage in war.

At​ 9 a.m. on 7 May 1915, the commander of U-Boat-20, Lieutenant Walther Schwieger, troubled by low fuel and heavy fog, decided to end his marauding in the Irish Sea and return to Wilhelmshaven. Shortly after one o’clock, he took a last look around through his periscope. The fog had lifted and in his sights was ‘a big passenger steamer’. Without hesitation, he fired a...

Before​ 1914, Lemberg was the fourth largest city in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The multilingual, multicultural capital of the semi-autonomous province of Galicia, Lemberg was half Polish, a quarter Jewish and a fifth Ruthenian (Ukrainian). In addition to its cosmopolitan attractions (an opera house, a large museum, a university), it was also home to Austria’s easternmost fortress....

In the explosion​ of recent books about the First World War – many of them excellent, almost all packed with narrative excitement, but not all breaking new ground – Isabel...

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