Where Have All the Soldiers Gone? The Transformation of Modern Europe

James J. Sheehan, Author . Houghton Mifflin $26 (284p) ISBN 978-0-618-35396-5

After two cataclysmic wars, argues Stanford historian Sheehan, Europe has been transformed from a place where the state was defined by its capacity to make war into a group of “civilian states” that have “lost all interest” in making war. Rather, they are marked by a focus on economic growth, prosperity and personal security. To explore this transformation, Sheehan examines the changes in modern warfare and in its infrastructure and the mobilization of national economies for war. Sheehan looks at the impact in the early 20th century of universal conscription, including its social consequences (such as bringing together different social classes), and its eventual decline; the peace movements marked by the 1899 and 1907 Hague conferences; the effects of the Cold War; the growth of the European Union; and the Euro-American split over the Iraq war. Sheehan's style is clear and fluid, and his work is just the right length. Perhaps his only failing is to scant Europe's “fitful and ineffective” interventions in the Balkans and more distant strife-torn countries, but this pales besides the information offered by this fine contribution to European studies. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/24/2007
Release date: 01/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-547-08633-0
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