The Wrath of Nations: Civilizations and the Furies of Nationalism

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Simon and Schuster, 1994 M11 10 - 256 pages
In his first book since the much-acclaimed and much-discussed Barbarian Sentiments, William Pfaff writes an enthralling narrative of the fall of empires and rise of nations - and with them, of that modern nationalism which has become the most powerful political force in the contemporary world. Born in the revolution against oppression and dynasties, nationalism has both created nations and ruined them. It paved the way for Nazism but eventually destroyed it. It forced Soviet armies out of Afghanistan and Eastern Europe, and eventually crushed Communism. It brought down the European colonial empires, but has left Africa confronting anarchy, and much of Asia dominated by ambitious and authoritarian new nations. It is the enemy of internationalist ideology, yet becomes an ideology itself, employing the apparatus of totalitarian control in search of utopias placed in the past rather than the future. It is this which links the Serbian drive to recapture a mythical "Greater Serbia" to the Islamic fundamentalists' ambition to reestablish a lost Islamic universal empire. Ethnic nationalism - the force which ignited both world wars - now has laid waste to Yugoslavia and threatens the rest of the Balkans and the Soviet Union's successor states, while it continues its destructive way in much of Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Yet nationalism cannot simply be condemned as reactionary or outmoded, a force which progress will push aside - as progressive philosophies and philosophers of history argue. It is rooted in the human need for secure place, communal loyalty, individual identification. It is an ineradicable factor in political existence. William Pfaff describes modern attempts to substituteinternationalism for nationalism, each of them broken by nationalism's subversive power - the latest and most audacious of them, European union, now under what may prove fatal attack from nationalism. He concludes with a sobering reflection on whether in the twenty-first century

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THE WRATH OF NATIONS: Civilization and the Fury of Nationalism

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A timely look at nationalism, a phenomenon more often noted than analyzed, by Pfaff (Barbarian Sentiments, 1989, etc.), longtime political commentator for The New Yorker, The International Herald ... Read full review

The wrath of nations: civilization and the furies of nationalism

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Unlike Daniel Patrick Moynihan's Pandaemonium ( LJ 5/1/93), which is as much a foreign policy prescription as a literate discussion of the phenomenon of nationalism, Pfaff's work is a forbidding ... Read full review


ONE Nationalism
TWO Nations and Nationalism
THREE Internationalism
FOUR Hapsburg and Ottoman Internationalism
FIVE The Ottoman Aftermath
SIX Asian and African Nationalism
SEVEN American Nationalism
EIGHT Liberal Internationalism
NINE Progress
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About the author (1994)

William Pfaff is a political columnist for The International Herald Tribune, London's The Observer, and other newspapers. A political essayist for The New Yorker from 1971 to 1992, he is the author of eight previous books, including Barbarian Sentiments: How the American Century Ends, a National Book Award finalist and winner of the City of Geneva's Prix Jean-Jacques Rousseau. He lives in Paris.

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