Picking the Bones: Reclaiming the Past from the Politicians

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Mainstream, 2004 - Počet stran: 240
While politicians seek evidence of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons in Iraq they overlook the fact that in human history, war itself has always been the greatest weapon of mass destruction. Its tools, whether machine guns, bombs or missiles of one form or another, are merely variations on a theme. The atomic bomb in Hiroshima killed as many as 100,000 civilians in a matter of seconds while the British naval blockade of Germany between 1914 and 1919 killed 1,000,000 Germans by slow degrees.Since the terrorist strikes of 11 September, history, its methodology, terminology and its particular concern with objective truth have been damaged - the language of historians subverted by politicians and the media; the past pillaged for examples to support modern political agendas. Picking the Bones strikes back in an attempt to restore the integrity of historical studies by demonstrating that the future is never merely a reworking of the past. Regan explores the drawbacks of demonising and glorifying historical characters for political purposes - Hitler is always the architect of the Holocaust and never the successor of Bismarck, and Churchill the man of Britain's 'finest hour', never the leader who planned to use anthrax on German cities in 1944. Mythologising history has become a tactic of unscrupulous politicians, along with disinformation and a new misleading rhetoric used to describe war and liberation. How should we really define weapons of mass destruction - are they elusive biological and chemical devices still being hunted months after the supposed end of a 'victorious' war against Saddam Hussein or are they the UN sanctions which inflicted death on 500,000 children under five in Iraq?

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Hellroaring Jake Smith
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O autorovi (2004)

Geoffrey Regan is one of Britain's leading popular historians and is the author of some 30 historical and military titles. His most recent publications include The First Crusader, which was nominated for the Wolfson Prize for History in 2002, Let Them Eat Cake: Historical Anecdotes and Great Military Blunders. He frequently contributes to magazines such as BBC History and History Today and operates his own website:

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