In this lively and ambitious book, James Sheehan charts what is perhaps the most radical shift in Europe’s history: its transformation from war-torn battlefield to peaceful, prosperous society. For centuries, war was Europe’s defining narrative, affecting every aspect of political, social, and cultural life. But afterWorldWar II, Europe began to reimagine statehood, rejecting ballooning defense budgets in favor of material well-being, social stability, and economic growth.
Where Have All the Soldiers Gone? reveals how and why this happened, and what it means for America and the rest of the world.
With remarkable insight and clarity, Sheehan covers the major intellectual and political events in Europe over the past one hundred years, from the pacifist and militarist movements of the early twentieth century and two catastrophic world wars to the fall of the BerlinWall and the heated debate over Iraq.This authoritative history provides much-needed context for understanding the fractured era in which we live.
It's easy for us to turn up our noses at Europe's not infrequent outbursts of self-righteousness, especially from the intellectual left, but we do well to remind ourselves that Europe speaks from experience that we have not undergone and can only pray we never do. I am no pacifist, but it seems to me that Europe as Sheehan portrays it in this timely, first-rate book is headed on a sound, mature course. Europeans tend to see terrorism "as a persistent challenge to domestic order rather than an immediate international threat" and to attack it with "more effective policing, stricter laws, better surveillance" rather than with a "war." Maybe, just maybe, they know more than we do.