On the cusp of the new millenium, historians of Europe are already having trouble with the twentieth century.
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.
In the last two decades the history of modern British politics has been the subject of fierce debate as its long cherished narratives and explanatory models have been questioned from a variety of 'revisionist' perspectives.
In many ways Russia is the touchstone of the twentieth century. Most of the main features of our troubled age have impinged on it more heavily than any other single country.
Consider a counter-factual or two. Would this book have been different had its author not have been immersed in the history of banking over the last few years? Would it have looked different had the author not been an active member of the Conservative party in the Thatcher years?