... wide-ranging and consistently enlightening ... combines political, cultural and intellectual history, while also touching on science, religion, photography, architecture and archaeology ... In all, this splendid overview provides striking new insights about where the Western world has been and where we may be going.
an excellent study of post-war changes in what Betts refers to as 'the political language of civilization' ... Betts’s admirable study slights neither Eastern nor Western efforts and proceeds to detail the complicated struggle of emerging African nations to define themselves rather than being defined by others postcolonization. This wide-ranging work also describes how Europeans hoped to put aside ideological differences in order to create a unified postindustrial society to present to the world ... This eminently readable study thoroughly details how European nations sought to redefine and rebuild themselves in the postwar era. It’s indispensable reading for those seeking to better understand modern world affairs.
At times, one wishes for more depth and subtlety, as well as more attention to the often dark ways in which colonialism, anticommunism, and simple wealth accumulation actually drove the process. Yet this book succeeds in casting new light on a critical European legacy of liberal and moderate values, one that may again be in danger today.