The city of Beirut witnessed a legendary amount of violence during the fifteen year long Lebanese Civil War. News programs the world over broadcast it into the homes of millions of people from 1975 till the Lebanese Parliament ratified the Taif accord in late 1989.
George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia is an interesting work.
The Global Cold War by Odd Arne Westad is a fascinating account of superpower interventions in the Third World during the latter half of the twentieth century. Covering a wide sweep of history, Westad argues that the United States and the Soviet Union were driven to intervene in the Third World by the ideologies inherent in their politics.
Two unusual books on civil war violence in Guatemala
Erik Larson is a peculiar type of writer. He writes history as narrative drama, and does it well. Larson locates an important moment in history, then meticulously mines historical archives to construct an entirely non-fiction account of events into what reads like a good novel.
Two weeks ago the British Guardian revealed that the Israeli Air-Force has been conducting secret training exercises in preparation for an imminent attack on Iran. As the war drums beats get stronger, one should ask why Iran preoccupies such a large part of Israel’s inner discourse?
Ronald P. Dore’s Shinohata brings to life the recent history of rural Japan. Shinohata is a small, wooded village in Tochigi prefecture, part of Japan’s central plain.
In his introduction to Confederates in the Attic, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tony Horwitz recounts the very strange moment when his weekend sleep-in was rudely interrupted by the loud cracking of gunfire.
Before John Dower’s Embracing Defeat, many English-language accounts of the United States’ occupation of Japan contextualized the event in terms of American foreign policy and the emerging Cold War. Scholars writing from this Western-centric perspective produced much fine scholarship, and no doubt will continue to do so.
In The Forgotten Armies: The Fall of British Asia, 1941-1945, Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper chronicle the war years of the British Empire in its Asian Crescent, which curved from Calcutta to Singapore into Malaysia and Burma.