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The First Total War


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About the Author

David A. Bell teaches French history at Johns Hopkins University and is the author of Lawyers and Citizens, which won the Pinkney Prize of the Society for French Historical Studies, and the highly acclaimed The Cult of the Nation in France. He has contributed to many American and European publications including the New York Times Book Review, Time, the Times Literary Supplement and the London Review of Books. He lives in Baltimore with his wife and two children.


'In a moment when our leaders tell us we are facing a faceless enemy in anendless war, genuinely illuminating parallels and historical common-senseare often in short supply. David Bell amply redresses the balance bytaking us back to the Enlightenment origins of our entwined conceptions oftotal war and perpetual peace. The First Total War is as wise at it istimely, and as rich in detail as it is grand in scope.' David Armitage, Professor of History, Harvard University 'One of the most thoughtful and original historians of his generation,David Bell has written a book that is as important for the citizen asfor the scholar, for it is framed by a merciless tension between now and then. It is engaging: unpretentiously learned, powerfullyevocative, endlessly stimulating. It is disquieting: it obliges us toreflect on aspects of our own society, and its representations of warthat we have largely repressed. Asking fresh questions, discarding comfortable and comforting behavioral stereotypes, and synthesizing avast array of material, leavened by his brisk imagination, Bell hasmapped what is a virtually new field of inquiry: the culture of war.' Steve Kaplan, University of Versailles 'The First Total War is a fascinating and brilliant work of history. It offers a giant insight into the nature of modern war -- an insight into the strange and scary dialectic of innocence and violence, the dream of total peace and the outbreak of total war.' Paul Berman

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