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Europe Reborn: A History, 1914-2000.

Europe Reborn: A History, 1914-2000. Harold James. Longman. [pounds sterling]15.99 p.b. xx + 492 pages. ISBN 0-582-21533-1. The final volume in the Longman History of Modern Europe traces the largely regrettable influence of ideologies, of the nation-state in the tragic break-up of the Habsburg Empire, of fascism and then Nazism, of the welfare-state and of communism on the peoples of Britain and Europe. The author proposes a 'twenty-first-century view of the past century' in which the 'fundamental development that shaped the end of the century ... [was] an international society' with emphases on international law and renewed respect for individual rights. (One could also argue that what the century saw at its end was a recreation of the pre-1914 world in which a new European Empire, the E.U., took over the roles of the former Austrian, German and, to some degree, Russian empires in the collapse of the new order created first in 1918-19 and then in 1945.) The demise of the USSR and its colonies has reintroduced a moral element into European history: moral values are essential in our making sense of the past. (One wonders if the immorality of the E.U.'s unparalleled corruption should not be a factor here.) Whilst the author may see more value and stability in the E.U. than the European future holds, his wide view and new ways of seeing the broader sweep of history make this a challenging read. (E.B.)
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Publication:Contemporary Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 2004
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