Where Have All the Soldiers Gone?

Where Have All the Soldiers Gone?

The Transformation of Modern Europe

Book - 2008
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Stanford historian Sheehan charts what is perhaps the most radical shift in Europe's history. For centuries, nations defined themselves by their willingness and ability to wage war. But after World War II, Europe began to redefine statehood, rejecting ballooning defense budgets in favor of material well-being, social stability, and economic growth. Sheehan reveals how and why this happened, and what it means for America as well as the rest of the world.--From publisher description.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2008
ISBN: 9780618353965
Branch Call Number: 940.28 S541w
Characteristics: xx, 284 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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Aug 18, 2011

In this brief book, James Sheehan manages to chart the evolution of Europe from a blood-soaked militaristic continent to one in which war has, for the vast majority of its citizens, become not a last resort, but no resort at all. Sheehan wears his immense erudition lightly, highlighting only the most salient points in defence of his thesis. It is a very readable and stimulating guide to where we may all be heading. One quibble: Sheehan, an American, tends to treat Europe (and Japan) as exceptional demilitarized states. May it not be that the US is the militarized exception? Sheehan concludes by warning that although Europe is in many ways a step up the evolutionary ladder away from war. it has reacted weakly and uncertainly to troubles on its doorstep in the Balkans, Georgia, Turrkey, the Middle East (and now, we might add, Northern Africa.) The Europeans have built an enviable civilization, but it exists in a world that has not embraced the same principles.


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