Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Good war, Bad War

[T]the lore of the Second World War remains on the whole heroic, while the imagery of the First, which was fought by the same armies and even, on occasion, the same men, remains that of utter waste. (Compare Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan” and Peter Weir’s “Gallipoli,” both accounts of Churchillian invasions.) Every time a Western politician with any historical sense faces a crisis, he has to decide whether he should back down and search for whatever compromise he can find, for fear of repeating 1914, or step up and slug somebody, for fear of repeating 1939. John Kennedy, at the time of the Cuban missile crisis, had Barbara Tuchman’s “The Guns of August” as a warning at his bedside, but he also had his generals around him muttering about Munich.

More reviews of more wonderful history books that I'll never have time to read.