n Without Prejudice - War-war, not Jaw-jaw : lifestyle books

Volume 14, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1681-178X


The story of mankind, which stretches back about a million years, is interwoven from beginning to the present with one overriding factor - war. Humans are war-like, period. They are aggressive and acquisitive, characteristics that feed upon each other. 2013 and 2014 are years of memory. The United Kingdom declared war on the Central Powers, Germany and Austria-Hungary, on August 4 a hundred years ago so officially launching the First World War, sometimes called the Great War. That war changed world history for ever. It spawned the Second World War, enabled Communism to enslave Russia and half Europe, and gave rise to a comprehensive re-alignment of the world order. But why did Japan, which had been an ally of Britain, France and the USA in the First World War, become a deadly enemy in World War 2? What events led it down this path to destruction? On September 9 1513 the Battle of Flodden Field between English and Scottish forces was fought in Northumberland, the biggest-ever battle between these two countries, involving upward of 50 000 men. It resulted in the death of Scotland's King James IV and brought to an end the struggle between Henry VIII of England and James for Renaissance Britain. It was a climacteric in the history of what was to become the United Kingdom. Three books are reviewed for this issue, all dealing with war, two whose subject is the events leading up to the outbreak of two world wars, and a third that brilliantly recounts the events leading up to and the battle of Flodden Field.

Catastrophe 1914 - Europe goes to war, Max Hastings
Japan 1941 - Countdown to Infamy, Eri Hotta
Fatal Rivalry - Flodden 1513, George Goodwin

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