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Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 

The Tick of Reason

Hugh Gough
Voltaire offended the Calvinists of Geneva, ‘the Protestant Rome’, by criticising its austere lifestyle and setting up a theatre on its outskirts. A new book argues that the city eventually gave birth to a ‘reasonable Calvinism’ but we should be careful to remember the limits of any such apparent thaw in biblical fundamentalism.
Jun 2, 2014, 16:09 PM

Teaching the Natives a Lesson

Patrick Bernhard
By the end of the Ethiopian campaign in May 1936, the Royal Italian Air force had deployed more than three hundred tons of arsenic, phosgene and mustard gas. Fascist Italy was thus the first European state after World War I to make use of this weapon of mass destruction against people deemed racially inferior.
May 18, 2014, 16:25 PM

The Errand-Boys of Europe

Pádraig Murphy
There is a strong current of thought in Russia which wishes to see the country assert its complete independence from the West and ‘Western values’ and follow its own path as a great Eurasian power. Yet others believe engagement is still possible. What has not been helpful is a US disregard for Russian interests and susceptibilities which has been seen as amounting to an ‘empathy deficit disorder’.
Apr 7, 2014, 09:20 AM

Apples at World’s End

Enda O’Doherty
Czesław Miłosz lived through a century in which many thought they could take History by the scruff of the neck, for the aggrandisement of their own nation or the betterment of mankind. The notion at one stage half-appealed to Miłosz too, but he was to learn to be less ambitious.
Mar 25, 2014, 08:25 AM

The People’s Parties

Brendan Sweeney
If Sweden and Ireland are ever compared, it is almost always to the detriment of the latter and many on the left entertain the notion that we would be a lot better off if we could be more like the Nordics. Yet there are curious similarities between the dominant parties that have been in power for most of the modern history of both countries.
Mar 25, 2014, 07:58 AM

Liberal, but to a Degree

Ultán Gillen
Neoconservatives have argued that liberty and democracy tend not to exist in the absence of markets and free enterprise, and that they in turn are dependent on a vigorous middle class. But the middle class has not been, everywhere and in all circumstances, unambiguously wedded to democracy.
Mar 25, 2014, 07:40 AM

All in the Mix

Michael Cronin
Inspired by atomistic science, thinkers in early modern England, including John Locke, developed a conceptual framework whereby it is the mixture of parts, unregulated by any superior form, which constitutes both the natural world and the body politic.
Wolfram Schmidgen explores this school of thought which challenged the dominant, Aristotelian world view in the early days of modernity.

Feb 9, 2014, 21:29 PM

Democracy’s Sphinx

Andreas Hess
A new study of Alexis de Tocqueville emphasises his French intellectual background and makes the case that his classic analysis of American democracy may be understood as well, or even better, if it is considered primarily in terms of the old European society for which it was written.
Feb 9, 2014, 21:23 PM

Beastly to the Hun

William Mulligan
A new study of the origins of the First World War provides an engaging and skilful account but is perhaps a little too close to the perceptions of the victors and a little too ready to see only malice emanating from Berlin.
Dec 1, 2013, 23:30 PM

There will be blood

Hugh Gough
More than any other single figure, Maximilien Robespierre is identified with, and blamed for, the terror and bloodshed of France’s revolutionary years, yet the hostility of contemporaries, historians and political commentators is not wholly justified.
Nov 18, 2013, 16:22 PM

Dying for Dixie

Enrico Dal Lago
A new study examines the case of the Irish immigrants who found themselves in the southern states at the time of the American Civil War and who circumstances dictated would declare for the Confederacy.
Nov 18, 2013, 14:30 PM

Crimes and Punishment

David Blake Knox
Germans have confronted the crimes of the Nazi regime with honesty and thoroughness. Important sections of Japanese society, however, prefer to forget or forgive the wartime actions of their army and deal with victim nations with defiance, not conciliation.
Nov 3, 2013, 20:56 PM

John Bull Knows Best

Niall Gillespie
A new biography of British liberal imperialist Thomas Macaulay, who made his mark on India as a young man, does not challenge the view that the liberalism he espoused was often only skin deep while the imperialism was all too real and damaging to those on the receiving end.
Oct 20, 2013, 22:15 PM

Total War

Liam Hennessy
In the brutal conduct of its invasion of the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany revealed its true nature fully for the first time as all political, legal or moral scruples were cast aside.
Oct 20, 2013, 21:16 PM

Answering Luther

John McCafferty
A superb and beautifully written study of the sixteenth century Council of Trent, when the Catholic church gathered to consider its response to Protestantism, constitutes a painless crash course on the Europe of the time.
Oct 6, 2013, 21:26 PM

Varieties of Modernity

Paul Gillespie
Relations between capitalism and the state have been crucial in Europe. Both, accommodating to claim-making from civil society, gave this model a distinctive concern with social solidarity.
Jun 30, 2013, 23:38 PM

Restless Eric

John Mulqueen
Eric Hobsbawm, perhaps the most respected of twentieth century historians, still manages to impress from beyond the grave with a wide-ranging tour of culture and society.
Apr 21, 2013, 19:43 PM

Strong Hand, Beloved Leader

Maurice Earls

A hoard of letters written by Germans to Hitler show a people keen to abdicate their responsibility and infantilise themselves, but they do not indicate any great enthusiasm for either Nazi ideology or territorial aggression.

Dec 17, 2012, 19:04 PM

Getting By

Sean OHuiginn
Jacques Rivière claimed that great writers could not be great moral characters, because their necessarily self-centred natures made them poorly equipped for devotion and sacrifice, and since they had to distance themselves from their feelings in order to see them, these were never as genuine as with other people. Jean Guéhenno, a writer free of any taint of collaboration, wrote in his diary in 1940: “The species of the man of letters is not one of the greatest human species. Incapable of surviving for long in hiding, he would sell his soul to see his name in print.”
Dec 10, 2011, 15:57 PM