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The History of the World in Two Hundred and…

The History of the World in Two Hundred and Forty Pages

by Rene Sedillot

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Interesting that WWI and WWII are treated as one long war. Also, no mention whatsoever of the Holocaust. I found that strange.

This book itself is a slice of history. For those of us too young to have experienced it first-hand, the author's interpretation of history gives us a brilliant example of old-fashioned, paternalistic, patronizing racism, wrapped up in benign academia. This book illustrates the systemic prejudices that shaped our thinking in the 40's and 50's. This is what our parents were taught in school. This is why the Baby Boomers are so entrenched in subtle racism and frightened of socialism. We've all seen the obvious, vicious side of racism. This is the quiet indoctrination of the same values. Fascinating to think this commentary passed for inoffensive in the 1940's and 50's. It reminds me of one of those overly cheerful WWII "news" reels that bordered on propaganda.

Pages go by without exciting comment, and then a sudden reminder that the narrative voice is from an earlier time. Examples: Author states the Roman empire fell because good, strong, manly, stoic, European Romans were tempted by "Oriental luxury" and "Oriental weakness," became effeminate, could not fight anymore. Entire civilizations are dismissed out of hand as "Barbaric." Africa and North America have no civilization or history. Civilization breaks down when women are employed outside the home. China is "masses of little yellow men lost in cloud of ancestor worship." America's eyes are opened to the "Yellow Peril," leading to restrictions on immigration of these "undesirables" because the US "has enough trouble already, dealing with the Negroes, who's high birth rate..." One of the evils of Socialism (USSR) is that it erases the differences between men and women.
  mankybam | Jun 1, 2010 |
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