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Books in brief: The Locomotive of War by Peter Clarke

Clarke "shows how the experience of the First World War transformed the laissez-faire liberalism of two generations of Anglo-American politicians"

By Ian Irvine   May 2017

The Locomotive of War: Money, Empire, Power and Guiltby Peter Clarke (Bloomsbury, £25)

When Leon Trotsky coined his arresting phrase, “War is the locomotive of history,” he took for granted that there was a single destination at the end of the line: the communist state. Peter Clarke begs to differ. In his engrossing history, he shows how the experience of the First World War transformed the laissez-faire liberalism of two generations of Anglo-American politicians. The vast state-directed energies required to prosecute a global conflict, hitherto unimagined, revealed to them the potential…

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