Christopher Clark mines fresh resources informed by events of the last few decades to throw new light on the background and causes of WWI. The princip Christopher Clark mines fresh resources informed by events of the last few decades to throw new light on the background and causes of WWI. The principal focus of the book is on the Balkan nations, Serbian nationalism, and how the relationship between Serbia and the Austro-Hungarian empire led to the development of alliances the paved the way to war. In addition to the thorough analysis of history, events, and politics in the Balkans, the author examines the ministers and decision makers of the British, French, German, Austrian, and Russian governments. Clark attempts to put Balkan nationalism at the center of his analysis, looking to illuminate how the war began:
"It is a central argument of this book that the events of July 1914 make sense only when we illuminate the journeys travelled by the key decision-makers. To do this, we need to do more than simply revisit the sequence of international ‘crises’ that preceded the outbreak of war – we need to understand how those events were experienced and woven into narratives that structured perceptions and motivated behaviour. Why did the men whose decisions took Europe to war behave and see things as they did? How did the sense of fearfulness and foreboding that one finds in so many of the sources connect with the arrogance and swaggering we encounter – often in the very same individuals? Why did such exotic features of the pre-war scene as the Albanian Question and the ‘Bulgarian loan’ matter so much, and how were they joined up in the heads of those who had political power? When decision-makers discoursed on the international situation or on external threats, were they seeing something real, or projecting their own fears and desires on to their opponents, or both?"
Clark begins with the remarkable observation that we are now in a better position than ever before to understand the trigger of WWI, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The murder was a terrorist act, performed by a rogue political organization without clear political or geographical location, unaccountable to any government. The "modernity" of the war is another key thesis.
Excellent history, extremely detailed, and certainly not recommended as a first book on the subject. But highly recommended for anyone with a basic knowledge of WWI, who is looking for new insights on the antecedents. The reader will also come away with a new understanding of the continuing dangers of Balkan nationalism....more
From the first poem in the book, that sums up the subject of this strange and marvelous collection from the oAmerica America! "stranger than paradise"
From the first poem in the book, that sums up the subject of this strange and marvelous collection from the old Beatnik Lawrence Ferlinghetti. In nine free-verse, stream of consciousness poems, Ferlinghetti rolls back and forth over American history, with a particular eye to Progressive causes. From the first oblique reference to Occupy Wall Street (In that hinternation/that stretches westward from Manhattan/autumn finds the people restless) to "The jazz age Pickle populated for starters by Wobblies, old Haymarket rads, Bughouse square soapboxers, anarcho-pacifists..." etc, Ferlinghetti limns "The forward rush of time and history". The poet mixes prose and poetry, high and low culture, politics, and some surprisingly literary references in these challenging but vibrant poems.
Particularly striking is his striking view in poem IV of Chicago:
"To Chicago! Chicago! by coach or Pullman or boxcar Shantytowns brick hovels hotels palaces built with hogs"
He carries on to the airport, to the Blue Line, up through the Near North Side, through the Loop, to the Lake and onward, always with an eye to the city's history:
"And life 'goes on'...with the populists and the socialists and the anarchists and the Chicago Surrealists... and the Charles H. Kerr Publishing Company giving voice to them with many a brave book and pamphlet."
Colorful, vibrant poetry--a slim volume, well worth the time, and worth coming back to and re-reading. ...more