• Frank Furedi
  • Frank Furedi
  • Sociologist, commentator and author

Review: The first world war, 100 years on

Clarke reviews three books:

The Long Shadow: The Great War and the Twentieth Century, by David Reynolds, Simon & Schuster, RRP£25, 544 pages

First World War: Still No End in Sight, by Frank Furedi, Bloomsbury, RRP£18.99, 288 pages

Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives! A World Without World War I, by Richard Ned Lebow, Palgrave Macmillan RRP$17.99 / RRP£27, 256 pages

About First World War: Still No End in Sight, he writes:

‘The sociologist Frank Furedi is likewise concerned with distant as well as immediate consequences, in a process that we still cannot declare finished; hence his title First World War: Still No End in Sight. In a broad-ranging survey, he takes 1914 as the starting-point in a series of interlinked and ongoing crises that successively fashioned the 20th century. The first world war, far from being a “war that will end war”, as HG Wells had hoped, was to be succeeded within a generation by a second; and then the cold war, in Furedi’s analysis, itself led to the culture wars of the late 20th century.

‘The clash of ideas, rather than war in any military dimension, is Furedi’s focus. Though there is an intriguingly wide sweep to his arguments, his discussion remains at a high level of abstraction. In this reckoning, “the end of ideology” that sociologist Daniel Bell perceptively identified in 1960 was to be out-trumped by “the end of history” that another American, Francis Fukuyama, proclaimed after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. A lot of endings, then; and some of them more easily postulated than substantiated. But unfortunately, Furedi does not test his suggestive hypotheses in the kind of concrete historical situations that might have satisfied more empirically minded readers…’

Read the full article here.

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