Ben Kiernan, “Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur” (Yale UP, 2007)
Chimps, our closest relatives, kill each other. But chimps do not engage in anything close to mass slaughter of their own kind. Why is this? There are two possible explanations for the difference. The first is this: chimps are not… Read More
Julian E. Zelizer, “Arsenal of Democracy: The Politics of National Security From WWII to the War on Terrorism” (Basic Books, 2010)
Historians are by their nature public intellectuals because they are intellectuals who write about, well, the public. Alas, many historians seem to forget the “public” part and concentrate on the “intellectual” part. Our guest today–sponsored by the National History Center Read More
Rebecca Manley, “To the Tashkent Station: Evacuation and Survival in the Soviet Union at War” (Cornell UP, 2009)
By the time the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, the Bolshevik Party had already amassed a considerable amount of expertise in moving masses of people around. Large population transfers (to put it mildly) were part and… Read More
Alexander Watson, “Enduring the Great War: Combat, Morale and Collapse in the German and British Armies, 1914-1918” (Cambridge UP, 2008)
It’s a question I’ve long asked myself: Why and how did common soldiers fight for so long in the First World War? The conditions were awful, death was all around, and there was no real hope of a “breakthrough” that… Read More
Susan Brewer, “Why America Fights: Patriotism and War Propaganda from the Philippines to Iraq” (Oxford UP, 2009)
Like it or not, governments need to mobilize their populations in times of crisis and one of the ways they do it is to disseminate propaganda. Now this is uncomplicated if you are, say, Stalin and claim to know what’s… Read More
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