Eric Hobsbawm

  • War and Society in Revolutionary Europe 1770-1870 by Geoffrey Best
    Leicester University Press/Fontana, 336 pp, £12.00, March 1982, ISBN 0 00 634747 9
  • European Empires from Conquest to Collapse 1815-1960 by V.G. Kiernan
    Leicester University Press/Fontana, 285 pp, £12.00, March 1982, ISBN 0 00 634826 2

Is it a good thing that a country, after almost forty years of accelerating decline, has nothing more satisfactory to look back upon than a victorious world war with relatively modest casualties? One is inclined to think not, as British politicians and the media fall in once again behind the fifes and drums of military glory. On the other hand, the unique place of 20th-century war in British life – we are a democracy which has both fought and survived two world wars – and the role of wartime memory in buttressing the national identity since 1945, have been good for the history of war, a subject which appears to flourish exceptionally well in this country.

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