One of my favorite NARN radio interviews was with British historian Michael Burleigh. He's the author of Earthly Powers: The Clash of Religion and Politics in Europe, from the French Revolution to the Great War and Sacred Causes: The Clash of Religion and Politics, from the Great War to the War on Terror, two essential works in understanding the interplay of religion and politics in modern history.
Now, he's just released his latest work, Blood and Rage: A Cultural History of Terrorism:
Blood and Rage is a sweeping and deeply penetrating work of history that explores the nature of terrorism from its origins in the West to today's global threat fueled by fundamentalists. Distinguished historian Michael Burleigh ("There are few better writers at work today"--The Sunday Times) emphasizes the lethal resentments and the twisted morality that spawn terrorism rather than the ideological or religious justification that routinely accompanies it. He reveals who the terrorist groups are, how they organize and operate, what motivates their violence, and how wider support encourages them.
Burleigh takes us from the roots of terrorism in the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the Russian Nihilists, and the London-based anarchists of Black International to the various terrorist campaigns that exist today. He also explores the lives of people engaged in careers of political violence and those who are most affected by terrorism.
Burleigh argues persuasively that history enables us to see how terrorism can be effectively contained and countered by avoiding the major mistakes of the past and by exploiting weaknesses within terrorist organizations. The problems in today's world, as well--especially the chaos inflicted by terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan--reflect the tragic, disastrous, and far-reaching consequences of this long war.
Definitely one to add to the Wish List.
And Mr. Burleigh is now blogging at Standpoint.Online, the web outpost for the promising new British mag:
Standpoint's core mission is to celebrate our civilization, its arts and its values--in particular democracy, debate and freedom of speech--at a time when they are under threat. Standpoint aims to be an antidote to the parochialism of British political magazines and to introduce British readers to brilliant writers and thinkers from across the Atlantic, across the Channel and around the world.
There most certainly is a need for such a stout defense of civilization in the U.K. and the world for that matter. And for the works of men like Michael Burleigh.