TRAGEDY AND HOPE by Carroll Quigley


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It is a staggering project to read this work: a minutely-detailed history of the modern world in two approximately standard-size volumes. Quigley makes extensive use of precis, but precis require tremendous compression and, more often than not, appalling oversimplifications. To blink, is to miss a whole handful of data as this book flies by; it is rather too much of a dose of history to be imbibed in the span of a library loan. A great deal of its reference value will, of course, be determined by its index, and the elaborateness of its Table of Contents, not seen here. Quigley's socio-political doctrines are largely those of today's middle-of-the-road: he looks back with horror upon the evils of the nineteenth century and predicts a future in which the practices of technology shall be hedged with concern for the common good. The division of chapters, too, is fairly routine: a general survey of Western Civilization in its world setting; various national positions before World War I; the creation of the British Empire; the Great War; the world's commercial situations, 1897-1947; the history of Socialism and the USSR; Germany from Kaiser to Hitler; changing economic patterns; the policy of appeasement prior to World War II, including a section on the Spanish Civil War; events before and during World War II; the wartime and postwar sweep of science; two long chapters on nuclear rivalry, with a discussion of American domestic political manifestations; and two concluding chapters: The New Era, 1957-1964 (nuclear stalemate, Latin America, the Far East, the eclipse of colonialism), and Tragedy and Hope: The Future in Perspective. Some of Quigley's conclusions: we live in an age of ""competing doubts""; ""political considerations...will continue to be dominated by the weapons situation...""; ""war and depression are man-made, and needless."" With this last, we can only agree.

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 1965
Publisher: Macmillan