The Lessons of History

Michael Howard, Author
Michael Howard, Author Yale University Press $30 (217p) ISBN 978-0-300-04728-8
Reviewed on: 02/04/1991
Release date: 02/01/1991
This collection of essays and lectures, dating from Howard's tenure of the Regius Chair of Modern History at Oxford between 1980 and '89, reflects his interest in the connection between nationalism and war. In ``War and Social Change'' he argues that national self-consciousness was the driving force of international conflict in the 19th and first half of the present century. ``The Edwardian Arms Race'' examines the pre-WW I naval rivalry between Britain and Germany. ``Prussia in European History'' makes the point that the Nazi creed drew on many sources not specifically Prussian. Nationalism, in Howard's view, is ``by far the most effective instrument of social mobilization . . . and so a most effective tool of war.'' This and similar observations are typical of the blandly general quality of the pieces. (Mar.)