Over a decade after the beginning of the “war on terror,” the language of good versus evil and with us or against us is as unpalatable as it’s ever been. David Cannadine shares the distaste. His latest book, The Undivided Past (Allen Lane, £20), appears to have been spurred by a deep aversion to this sort of binary thinking, both in contemporary politics and among his fellow historians. To divide the world by religion, nation, class, gender, race or—most egregiously, perhaps—“civilisation” is to deeply and dangerously, and sometimes willfully, misunderstand history, he argues. The book is a pleasure thanks to…
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