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The Whys of Wars

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Alan Sked reviews two books on the art of warfare and start of the Second World War

  • Makers of Modern Strategy, from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age
    Edited by Peter Paret. 944 pp. (Princeton University Press, 1986)
  • The Origins of the Second World War Reconsidered. The A. J. P. Taylor debate after twenty-five years, Edited by Gordon Martel. 284 pp. (Allen and Unwin, 1986)
It is a long time since I have read two books with greater interest or greater pleasure. Both are excellent value for money; indeed, Paret's must constitute one of the best publishing bargains of all time. Both bring together a considerable number of articles on key topics by leading experts and the vast majority of these in both cases are lucidly presented, up-to-date, and persuasively argued. Tutors should feel themselves morally obliged to ensure that both works are immediately purchased for university and sixth-form libraries.

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