"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Storm of War

I have begun Andrew Roberts' The Storm of War, a one-volume history of World War II.   The first chapters focus, perhaps inevitably, on the prelude to war in Europe and the appeasement of Hitler as he ramped up the German military and annexed Austria, the Sudetenland, and Czechoslovakia.   Roberts is a very good writer, and is very clear-eyed about the source of the war in the weakness and naivete of the British leadership in the 1930s.   This is all a story that has long been told, but Roberts does a good job on it, without being too much in a rush to offer a "revisionist" version. 

There are, of course, lessons to be learned for today, as we continually appease the ambitions of Iran in the Middle East.   But, then, if we didn't repeat prior mistakes, what would history be about?

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