What began in 1754 with a French victory—the defeat at Fort Necessity of a young Lieutenant Colonel George Washington—quickly became a disaster for France. The cost in soldiers, ships, munitions, provisions, and treasure was staggering. France was deeply in debt when the war began, and that debt grew with each year. Further, the country’s inept system of government made defeat all but inevitable. Nester describes missed diplomatic and military opportunities as well as military defeats late in the conflict.
Nester masterfully weaves his narrative of this complicated war with thorough accounts of the military, economic, technological, social, and cultural forces that affected its outcome. Readers learn not only how and why the French lost, but how the problems leading up to that loss in 1763 foreshadowed the French Revolution almost twenty-five years later.
One of the problems at Versailles was the king’s mistress, the powerful Madame de Pompadour, who encouraged Louis XV to become his own prime minister. The bewildering labyrinth of French bureaucracy combined with court intrigue and financial challenges only made it even more difficult for the French to succeed. Ultimately, Nester shows, France lost the war because Versailles failed to provide enough troops and supplies to fend off the English enemy.
Almost a decade in the making, this much-anticipated grand history of postwar Europe from one of the world's most esteemed historians and intellectuals is a singular achievement. Postwar is the first modern history that covers all of Europe, both east and west, drawing on research in six languages to sweep readers through thirty-four nations and sixty years of political and cultural change-all in one integrated, enthralling narrative. Both intellectually ambitious and compelling to read, thrilling in its scope and delightful in its small details, Postwar is a rare joy.
The Origins of Totalitarianism begins with the rise of anti-Semitism in central and western Europe in the 1800s and continues with an examination of European colonial imperialism from 1884 to the outbreak of World War I. Arendt explores the institutions and operations of totalitarian movements, focusing on the two genuine forms of totalitarian government in our time—Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia—which she adroitly recognizes were two sides of the same coin, rather than opposing philosophies of Right and Left. From this vantage point, she discusses the evolution of classes into masses, the role of propaganda in dealing with the nontotalitarian world, the use of terror, and the nature of isolation and loneliness as preconditions for total domination.