This is a very puzzling book. To judge by its title and some of its contents, its subject is the attempt to create a world order on the basis of two competing principles, adumbrated respectively in the West and in Russia. Those two principles are summed up in the figures of Montesquieu and Marx, whose ideas on social order are briefly set out in the first two chapters.
There is a sense in which, in the twentieth century, the history of Europe is the history of Germany: German history cannot be isolated from war, cold war, superpower conflict, European integration, and the developments of Germany's European neighbours to the west, east, north and south. for the twists and turns of its history have shaped the major moments in European history.
In 1992, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., sponsored a special exhibition to mark 1492, the five hundredth anniversary of the Discovery of America. Reflecting the times in the 1990s, the exhibition tried to show the essential equality of all cultures around the globe at the end of the fifteenth century.
Japan's experience of defeat and occupation at the end of the Second World War has most commonly been examined from the point of view of the conquerors. It has rarely been tackled as a Japanese experience.
Historians of Soviet foreign policy and the Second World War will welcome the arrival of Garbriel Gorodetskys Grand Delusion: Stalin and the German Invasion of Russia, the first study of Soviet decision-making between the Nazi-Soviet pact and the outbreak of the German-Soviet war to be based upon thorough research in Soviet as well as western archives.
Matthew Seligmann's well-researched study of the development of Germany's South African policy in the 1890s is both an in-depth investigation of the motivations behind that policy, and a contribution to the broader debate on German expansionism in the late nineteenth century.
Few areas of historical enquiry resonate with such contemporary relevance as the Arab-Israeli conflict, and any scholar attempting a book on the subject is walking into a politically charged minefield. Historians enquiring after the 'truth' are accused of partisan bias: after all, they must either be supporters of Zionism or the Arab cause.
With 'The Korean War' Peter Lowe returns to the subject of the 1950-53 south-east Asian conflict which he argues could have flared up into the third world war of the twentieth century (see also Peter Lowe 1986).
The chapters in this collection were originally given as papers at a conference at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at the Harvard University in 1997, sponsored jointly by the North American Conference on British Studies and the Royal Historical Society.
This is a wide-ranging collection of sources that aims to cover the whole sweep of Soviet history: Richard Sakwa's work on the politics of the Soviet Union makes him well placed to produce such a volume.