IN SEARCH OF THE MODERN WORLD by I. Robert Sinat

IN SEARCH OF THE MODERN WORLD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Professor Sinai's essay on the glories and problems of Western civilization falls between two stools, though it seems intent on straddling both. Parts of his work were obviously written with an eye on his fellow historians, while the rest could easily be fitted into the think- pieces of the Sunday Times Magazine section. In his analysis of historical change throughout Europe and America vis-a-vis the East and the underdeveloped nations, Professor Sinai offers an incisive review of the various power forces--social, economic, political--which have shaped the prevailing contours of the haves and have-nots. He places particular weight on the nature of revolutionary doctrines: spirited and successful when drawn from an evolving technology and a more or less libertarian ethos, confused or monolithic when not. Thus the Russian Revolution proved to be more riddled with ""savage incongruities"" than the French upheaval of 1789, Marxism is ""almost completely irrelevant"" as a program of social action, and the initial responses of Japan or China or Mexico to the transforming tide of the West proved either painful and inadequate or unleashed messianic dreams of supremacy. On the other hand, Sinai cautions against American omnipotence or militant interventionism, believing that the Third World must find its own indigenous and radical remedies.

Pub Date: Oct. 9th, 1967
Publisher: New American Library