Storm of Steel

Review: Storm of Steel, Ernst Jűnger, trans. Michael Hoffman, 1920, 1961, 2003.Storm of Steel

Ernst Jűnger’s World War One memoir is striking for what it doesn’t have.

Jűnger and his comrades don’t speak of why they fight.

There is no lingering while Jűnger talks of the many strange deaths, injuries, and maimings that war can bring. What little emotion there is not horror.

There is no account of Jűnger before or after the war.

There is no description of basic training.

War is a test, a skill that Jűnger doesn’t just need to master to survive. He needs to master it to become the man he wishes to be.

Jűnger was not a common soldier who endured war to protect his nation and loved ones or to fulfill a duty. He was a born warrior.

When he steps off the train at the book’s opening, the test and rapture of battle await:

Full of awe and incredulity, we listened to the slow grinding pulse of the front, a rhythm we were to become mightily familiar with over the years. The white ball of a shrapnel shell melted far off, suffusing the grey December sky. The breath of battle blew across to us, and we shuddered. Did we sense that almost all of us – some sooner, some later – were to be consumed by it, on days when the dark grumbling yonder would crash over our heads like an incessant thunder?

… Grown up in an age of security, we shared a yearning for danger, for the experience of the extraordinary. We were enraptured by war. … Surely the war had to supply us with what we wanted; the great, the overwhelming, the hallowed experience.

The German Army was not Jűnger’s first military experience. He so wanted to see war he had joined the French Foreign Legion in 1913 when he was 18. His father pulled strings to get him released.

Jűnger learned the science of war well. The war is still going on when the book ends with him winning Germany’s highest medal, the pour le Mérite, commonly called the Blue Max. He was the youngest soldier ever awarded it. But two bullet wounds suffered in August 1918 put him out of the war for good. They were the last of 14 wounds, not counting “trifles such as ricochets and grazes”:

five bullets, two shell splinters, one shrapnel ball, four hand-grenade splinters and two bullet splinters.

But Jűnger had a long life in front of him. He died at age 102 having not only been a man of letters including several works of magical realism and a science fiction novel called The Glass Bees which got a foreword by Bruce Sterling when re-released in 2000. He was also a distinguished entomologist, and devotee of mind expanding drugs and dropped acid with its inventor Albert Hoffmann.

Storm of Steel was a project he returned to again and again. Originally published in a different version in 1920 and privately printed for his fellow veterans, its sparse style comes from Jűnger not needing to explain all the details to a civilian audience in the manner of Henri Barbusse’s 1917 war novel Under Fire which I’ll be looking at it a future post.

Its long German title translates as In Storms of Steel: from the Diary of a Shock Troop Commander, Ernst Jűnger, War Volunteer and subsequently Lieutenant in the Rifle Regiment of Prince Albrecht of Prussia (73rd Hanoverian Regiment). Those diaries, in fact, were published in 2005.

While the German soldiers in Jűnger’s book do not speak of why they fight, that may not have been true of the original version. Translator Hoffman notes the first version ended with

Though force without and barbarity within conglomerate in somber clouds, yet so long as the blade of a sword will strike a spark in the night may it be said: Germany lives and Germany shall never go under!

That tone no doubt appealed to a fellow veteran, Adolf Hitler. Jűnger, though possessing a lifelong contempt for democracy, didn’t have time for the Nazis or Hitler. Fortunately, Hitler did have time for Jűnger when the Gestapo wanted to execute him due to his personal affiliations with members of the Stauffenberg group who tried to assassinate Hitler.

There were, in fact, eight different versions of this memoir. The last was in 1961 which this version is a translation of. Hoffman spends a lot of his introduction complaining about Basil Creighton’s 1929 English translation of the 1924 version. A 1934 version, dubbed “the quiet version” by one critic, may have further reduced the nationalist flavor of the text.

Online research tells me that the first version, however poorly translated, had more details on the stormtroop tactics that Jűnger help develop. While the text gives some flavor of them, Jűnger in no way presents them in a systematic and detailed way.

Jűnger’s text is also largely free of dates though one can figure out the battles he’s talking about. He does assign a date for the chapter “The Great Battle”: March 21, 1918, the beginning of the St. Michael Offensive which pushed the Allied lines back 14 miles in places, the largest movement of the war.

This chapter is the heart of the book, the revelry, ecstasy, and chaos of battle – an offensive at last for the Germans:

As we advanced, we were in the grip of a berserk rage. The overwhelming desire to kill lent wings to my stride. Raged squeezed bitter tears from my eyes.

The immense desire to destroy that overhung the battlefield precipitated a red mist in our brains. We called out sobbing and stammering fragments of sentences to one another, and an impartial observer might have concluded that we were all ecstatically happy.

Jűnger’s account of that day is swirling, restless, hyperactive, brutal:

Here I saw that any defender who continued to empty his pistol into the bodies of the attackers four or five paces away could not expect any mercy when they were upon him. The fighter, who sees a bloody mist in front of his eyes as he attacks, doesn’t want prisoners; he wants to kill.

But the book has quieter moments.

There is the cycle of the German soldier’s day in the trenches, the endless constructing and maintaining of fortifications, the thoughts that go through Jűnger’s mind as he walks sentry duty at night in the “eerie desolation” and “curious … emotional cold”, and the trapping of rats.

Jűnger expresses fondness for the French families he stays with in his time in the rear area.

There are the observations of nature “pleasantly intact” with birds singing in no-man’s land. In the land immediately to the rear

the war had given it a suggestion of heroism and melancholy; its almost excessive blooming was even more radiant and narcotic than usual.

There is humor of a dark sort.

Jűnger talks of one soldier

festooned with weapons – apart from his rifle, from which he was inseparable, he wore numerous daggers, pistols, hand-grenades and a torch tucked into his belt. Encountering him in the trench was like suddenly coming upon an Armenian or somesuch. For a while he used to carry hand-grenades loose in his pockets as well, till that habit gave him a very nasty turn, which he related one evening. He had been digging around in his pocket, trying to pull out his pipe, when it got caught in the loop of a hand-grenade and accidentally pulled it off.

Jűnger says that cold and boredom are the soldier’s greatest enemies. One of his passing amusements, with another NCO, is to collect unexploded artillery shells, pile them up at a safe distance, and try to detonate as many as possible with rifle fire.

The book memorably evokes the closeness of the enemy trench works – at one point only 30 yards apart in a sector Jűnger was in.

Sometimes, men would become confused where they were:

At dusk, two members of a British ration party lost their way, and blundered up to the sector of the line that was held by the first platoon. They approached perfectly serenely; one of them was carrying a large round container of food, the other a longish tea kettle.  They were shot down at point-blank range; one of them landing with his upper body in the defile, while his legs remained on the slope. It was hardly possible to take prisoners in this inferno, and how could we have brought them back through the barrage in any case?

He memorably conveys the experience of a trench raid on June 20, 1916:

These moments of nocturnal prowling leave an indelible impression. Eyes and ears are tensed to the maximum, the rustling approach of strange feet in the tall grass is an unutterably menacing thing. Your breath comes in shallow bursts; you have to force yourself to stifle any panting or wheezing. There is a little mechanical click as the safety-catch of your pistol is taken off; the sound cuts straight through your nerves. Your teeth are grinding on the fuse-pin of the hand-grenade. The encounter will be short and murderous. You tremble with two contradictory impulses: the heightened awareness of the huntsman, and the terror of the quarry. You are a world to yourself, saturated with the appalling aura of the savage landscape.

Junger never denigrates his enemy be it Scots, Indian, New Zealander, or English:

The sergeant practically had both legs sheared off by hand-grenade splinters; even so, with stoical calm he kept his pipe clenched between his teeth to the end. This incident, like all our other encounters with the Britishers, left us pleasantly impressed with their bravery and manliness.

The next paragraph Jűnger talks with some pride of grabbing a sentry’s rifle and shooting a British soldier in the head at 600 hundred yards.

And, later on during a different battle, Jűnger ruminates on the morality of killing:

Outside it lay my British soldier, little more than a boy, who had been hit in the temple. He lay there, looking quite relaxed. I forced myself to look closely at him. It wasn’t a case of ‘you or me’ any more. I often thought back on him; and more with the passing of the years. The state, which relieves us of our responsibility, cannot take away our remorse; and we must exercise it.

Having recently read Dennis Showalter’s Instrument of War about the German Army during World War One, I picked up on short remarks that support his narrative.

Early in the book, he talks about the German trenches and foreshadows the effects they were to have on German morale and effectiveness:

It’s not a question of the scale of the earthworks, but of the courage and condition of the men behind them. The ever-deeper trenches might protect against the odd head wound, but it also made for a defensive and security-conscious type of thinking, which we were loath to abandon later.

For  Jűnger, the worth of a soldier is in his moral spirit. Better the puny but courageous man than a strong coward. He mentions how the war grinds down the experienced soldier whatever his other qualities. On his stormtrooper raids, he preferred men under 20 not for their physical fitness but aggressive spirit.

Jűnger recognized, at the time, that the Battle of the Somme brought in a new phase of the war:

What confronted us now was a war of matériel of the most gigantic proportions. This war in turn was replaced towards the end of 1917 by mechanized warfare, though that was not given time to fully develop.

Jűnger brings to life what history books refer to as “the German Army’s retreat to the Siegfried Line”:

The villages we passed through on our way had the look of vast lunatic asylums. Whole companies were set to knocking or pulling down the walls, or sitting on rooftops, uprooting the tiles. Trees were cut down, windows smashed; wherever you looked, clouds of smoke and dust rose from vast piles of debris. We saw men dashing about wearing suits and dresses left behind by the inhabitants, with top hats on their heads. With destructive cunning, they found the roof-trees of the houses, fixed ropes to them, and, with concerted shouts, pulled till they all came tumbling down. Others were swinging pile-driving hammers, and went around smashing everything that got in their way, from the flowerpots on the window-sills to whole ornate conservatories.

As far back as the Siegfried Line, every village was reduced to rubble, every tree chopped down, every road undermined, every well poisoned, every basement blown up or booby-trapped, every rail unscrewed, every telephone wire rolled up, everything burnable burned; in a word, we were turning the country that our advancing opponents would occupy into a wasteland.

As I say, these scenes were reminiscent of a madhouse, and the effect of them was similar: half funny, half repellent. They were also, we could see right away, bad for men’s morale and honour. Here, for the first time, I witnessed wanton destruction that I was later in life to see to excess; this is something that is unhealthily bound up with the economic thinking of our age, but it does more harm than good to the destroyer, and dishonours the soldier.

Jűnger’s apotheosis came in the St. Michael Offensive:

The Great Battle was a turning-point for me, and not merely because from then on I thought it possible that we might actually lose the war.

The incredible massing of forces in the hour of destiny, to fight for a distant future, and the violence it so surprisingly, stunningly unleashed, had taken me for the first time into the depths of something that was more than mere personal experience. That was what distinguished it from what I had been through before; it was an initiation that had not only opened the red-hot chambers of dread but had also led me through them.

Through it all, Jűnger’s concern with his men, the family of the army company, comes through. In the penultimate chapter, “My Final Assault” recounting events on July 30, 1918 he says :

There wasn’t much to say in the course of the last few days, and with a kind of sweepingness that is only to be explained by the fact that an army is not only men under arms, but also men fused with a sense of a common purpose, probably every one of them had come to understand that we were on our uppers. With every attack, the enemy came onward with more powerful means; his blows were swifter and more devastating. Everyone knew we could no longer win. But we would stand firm.

There’s mention of all you would expect in this memoir – gas attacks, the unburied dead of no-man’s land, grenade duels, the tactics of defending against British tanks, and the effects of influenza on the St. Michael Offensive – and its reputation as one of the great memoirs of the war is well-deserved.

More reviews related to the Great War are on the World War One page.

Wake Up, America!

Review: Wake Up, America!: World War I and the American Poster, Walton Rawls, 1988.Wake Up, America

A beautiful, big coffee table book not only full of well-reproduced posters but also a brief history of the American war effort as touched upon by the subjects of those posters.

Rawls starts out with a brief history of the lithographic poster, an art form still in its golden age during the war. The art poster, not only advertising a product but also aesthetically interesting to collectors, started in France. He also talks about some of the famed European poster artists and their American counterparts on the eve of the war.

The poster was an ideal form of communication in the days before radio and tv, a form that yanked eyes to it and imparted a message even to the illiterate or those not speaking the language of the land they found themselves in. Every nation in the war used them. A German artist who later achieved some political prominence said that American and British posters were the best of the war, uncluttered and effectively conveying their demands to the viewer, conveying and persuading.

Destroy This Mad BruteThe book has a number of non-American posters illustrating events in the pre- and early war years or those few that inspired American imitators.

Americans were producing posters concerned with the war even before the country joined the conflict. Most begged for money to relieve suffering in France and Belgium, an effort very efficiently managed by future President Herbert Hoover. Others were affiliated with the 1915 preparedness efforts of groups like the private National Security League to get ready for a war they thought inevitable.1918_WillYouSupplyEyes_work

On April 17, 1917, a mere 11 days after America entered the war, the president of the Society of Illustrators, Charles Dana Gibson, the man who created the famous pictures of Gibson girls, was asked by illustrator George Creel to let the latter form a committee to produce whatever artwork the government needed. On April 22nd, Gibson met with Creel and the Division of Pictorial Publicity of the Committee on Public Information was born.

By the end of the war, they had produced 700 poster designs to the U.S. government as well as hundreds of other advertisements, cartoons, banners, seals, and buttons.

The subjects were multiple: recruiting for the military, food and fuel conservation, war bonds, war films, counterespionage and security awareness, book drives, the Veterinary Corps, the Y.W.C.A and Y.M.C.A, women in factories, war gardens, and admonitions to immigrants (often in foreign languages) to prove their loyalty.

2d043046493acb017581933931306827The book talks about American at war through the context of these posters with some mostly forgotten stories like the largely unsuccessful attempt to produce a purely American fighter plane, the Liberty Plane (proclaimed by American ace Eddie Rickenbacker as “Flaming Coffins”) or the specifics of the Liberty Loan drives or a call by the U.S. Navy for citizens to loan them binoculars and spy-glasses.Pennell_That-Liberty-Shall-Not-Perish-From-The-Earth,-Buy-Liberty-Bonds,-First-World-War-poster

There are a few post-war posters about hiring veterans, getting other veterans to re-enlist, and the “Watch on the Rhine” overseeing defeated Germany.Poster-Weapons_For_Liberty-Boy_Scouts

Of definite interest for those interested in poster art and World War One. With 279 pages of text and at least one poster on almost every page, there are hundreds of things to look at here.Poster_-_Food_will_win_the_war

 

 

More reviews of World War One related topics are here.

Instrument of War

Review: Instrument of War: The German Army 1914-18, Dennis Showalter, 2016.Instrument of War

The problem with the German Army in World War One, argues Dennis Showalter, is that it was an instrument of war and not for war.

It started with the insouciance of Prussian War Minister Erich von Falkenhayn. On July 5, 1914, he told Moltke the Younger (known as “Gloomy Julius” to the higher ranking members of the German General Staff) – after, of course assuring the Kaiser that the German Army would support the Austro-Hungary Empire’s ultimatum to Serbia — that nothing would come of this war talk. The man who planned the railroad timetables clocking how the German Army would go to war, Wilhelm Gröner, took a July holiday.

It ended with Ludendorff’s spring 1918 offensives which had little more by way of specific objectives than punch a hole in Allied lines and see what happened.

Germany pursued war with a too casual appraisal of strategic ends. It concerned itself with the operational scale of war, not the strategic. Battles were to be won. And the next battle would be won and … Continue reading

City of Endless Night

Review: City of Endless Night, Milo Hastings, 1920.City of Endless Night

Yes, I was walking in Utopia, a nightmare at the end of man’s long dream – Utopia – Black Utopia – City of Endless Night – diabolically compounded of the three elements of civilization in which the Germans had always been supreme – imperialism, science and socialism.

It’s the year 2151. The German state, after sweeping through Eurasia and the Middle East in the Second World War which began in 1988, has been pushed back to the Armoured City of Berlin. The Ray, a weapon that calcifies bones, keeps the armies of the World State at bay. Aerial bombing cannot harm the vast underground fortress, the Black Utopia, which holds 300 million Germans.

But one man, Lyman de Forrest, a student of German culture and language from Chicago, penetrates its upper depths, impersonates one of its chemists, and learns its secrets. But should he destroy it with his knowledge? Or attempt to bring it into the larger family of the World State?

Hastings’ novel is an astonishing novel on several levels. Continue reading

Last Men in London

Surely you knew that mention of Olaf Stapledon was going to start another series.

We start with one of Stapledon’s most obscure science fiction works.

I read this one out of the 1976 Gregg Press. They never seem to have come with dust jackets, so you get no cover picture for this one.

This one definitely needs a re-read for the World War One in Fantastic Fiction series.

Raw Feed (1996): Last Men in London, Olaf Stapledon, 1932.

My reactions to reading this novel in 1996. Spoilers follow.

“Introduction”, Curtis C. Smith and Harvey J. Satty — Introduction to the 1976 edition of the novel. It talks of Stapledon’s vision that inspired his Last and First Men and Last Men in London. It also speaks of the generally harsh criticism of this sequel to Last and First Men and this novel’s obscurity. The authors also note many similarities between character Paul and Stapledon.

Last Men in London, Olaf Stapledon — In many ways, this sequel to Stapledon’s Last and First Men is very different. It is much lacking in the speculative wonders of natural and social evolution of the latter novel. The only new things in that regard are the society of philosophical lemurs which predate man. Their territory is invaded by primitive man who wipes the lemurs out because, though they are philosophically and morally advanced, they’re lacking in practical knowledge, skill, and curiosity. This notion that man must have intellectual curiosity, scientific learning, dispassion and detachment, a comfortable sensuality, a morality that emphasizes community, and a sense of cosmic purpose is emphasized again and again. Every species before the near-perfect 18th Man is lacking at least one of these virtues, and, therefore, doomed. Of course, even the 18th men are doomed and revert to primitive, near-animals. Continue reading

Somme: 1 July 1916

I read this one on the 100th anniversary of its title.

Yes, I’m catching up on some reviews.

This is an Osprey Publishing book. If you have spent any time in wargaming shops or reading military history, you’ve probably seen their work. They are chock-full of maps and color drawings for those painting wargame miniatures and models and offer concise yet detailed looks at their subjects. Scholarly monographs for popular audiences basically.

Before this one, I think I’ve only read one of their books. It was on Roman forts along the Saxon Shore of England – an interest I developed after accidentally wandering into one, Portchester Castle, on the way to Royal Armouries Museum at Fort Nelson. (Those familiar with Portchester’s geography may wonder how such an accident could possibly occur. It’s a long story.)

I’ve inherited a bunch of Osprey books on the English Civil War (not a particular interest of mine) from one of my companions on that expedition, and this book I got when a friend was purging his library.

Review: Somme: 1 July 1916: Tragedy and Triumph, Andrew Robertshaw, 2006.Somme

This book is the 169th entry in Osprey Publishing’s in Campaign series.

It lays out, in the first 41 pages, the context of the Somme campaign: the events in World War One that preceded it, the state of the opposing armies, strategic objectives of the opposing sides, and looks at the opposing commanders.

The rest of the 96 pages look at the first day of the Battle of the Somme including the experiences of soldiers on both sides. The concluding pages look at the battlefield today.

It’s hardly my first exposure to the Battle of the Somme, a battle that looms as large as any in the memory of Englishmen for its greatest single day slaughter of the British Army.

The book has a couple of points that stuck out for me.

First is the “triumph” of the title. There were Allied successes on the first day. The British XIII Corps took its objectives including Montauban. The French army also got as far as second-line German positions. Continue reading

What If?

The alternate history continues with a collection of essays from various historians and popular writers, a modern sequel of sorts to If It Had Happened Otherwise.

There was a follow up volume I have not read.

Raw Feed (2004): What If?: The World’s Foremost Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been, ed. Robert Cowley, 2000.what-if

“Introduction”, Robert Cowley — A cursory look at the current state of academic “counterfactual” writing, teasers for the essays in the collection, and a brief discussion of their genesis in the special tenth anniversary edition of MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History.

Infectious Alternatives: The Plague That Saved Jerusalem, 701 B.C.”, William H. McNeill — Not surprisingly McNeill, the historian who really first put forth the idea that disease epidemics affected many events in history, chooses a plague as his turning point. We don’t really know why the Assyrian king Sennacherib abandoned his investment of Jerusalem. We know his army suffered severe losses, and it is probable that it was due to disease. McNeill briefly sketches, in cultural and religious terms, the consequences of the Assyrians taking Jerusalem and, thereby, killing Judaism as a cultural force for good. (It really isn’t that much of a stretch. The splinter kingdom of Israel had abandoned Judaism and disappeared in 722 B.C. Several cities in Judah were taken, and the King of Judea ended up paying tribute to the Assyrians.) McNeill sees the main effect of Jerusalem being taken is that the Jewish faith looses further confidence. The unique universal monotheism of Judaism is weakened. When the Jews are taken off in the Babylonian captivity, they become just another locally centered, ethnically based faith and exert no influence on the following centuries.

A Good Night’s Sleep Can Do Wonders“, Barbara N. Porter — A very brief alternate history that imagines the possible consequences (actually, it spends most of its time recounting the historical record and not imagining alternative outcomes) of the Lydian King Gyges not getting a good night’s sleep and impatiently attacking the Cimmerians before he was ready. The Lydians don’t form an alliance with Assyria and, years later, nascent Greek culture is overwhelmed by the expanding Cimmerians. Continue reading

The Intelligence War in Latin America, 1914 – 1922

This one came from LibraryThing, and there was no way I was going to pass up a review copy of a book about World War One and espionage.

Review: The Intelligence War in Latin America, 1914 – 1922, Jamie Bisher, 2016.intelligence-war-in-latin-america

Not an easy read, but this dense book is rewarding and necessary for any student of World War One and espionage history.

The only books, according to Bisher, that even partially cover this subject are Barbara Tuchman’s The Zimmerman Telegram and Friedrich Katz’s The Secret War in Mexico.

Bisher’s story covers events from Canada to Tierra del Fuego and the Caribbean. It is, as he notes, unfortunately dependent mostly on American intelligence records. His requests, in writing and in person, for access to Latin American intelligence records were met with silence or derision. German, British, and Japanese (yes, Japan plays a significant role in this book) records were destroyed in the Second World War or were purged for space and financial reasons.

Bisher begins his story way back in 1867 with Aureliano Blanquet delivering the coup de grace in the execution of Emperor Ferdinand Maximillian – the uncle of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The young Blanquet went on to be a major player in Mexican politics in 1913 with the death of President Francisco Madero. Continue reading

If It Had Happened Otherwise

I’m on vacation, but I’ll still post this.

It even has some World War One material relevant for today.

This was, I believe, the first collection of academic alternate histories ever done and featured various famous historians and literary writers of the early 20th century.

This is a Raw Feed, so my historical ignorance is not as great as 29 years ago.

Raw Feed (1987): If It Had Happened Otherwise, ed. J. C. Squire, 1931, 1972.if-it-had-happened-otherwise

“Introduction”, J.C. Squire — Brief comments on academic alternate history treatises.  Emphasizes importance of causality chain beginning with trivial event (brilliantly explored in Bradbury’s “Sound of Thunder”) and how we almost always think of alternate histories as undesirable worlds to our own though this obviously depends on cultural/moral/political point of view.

“Introduction”, John Wheeler-Bennett — Brief comments on history of alternate history as literature and valid historical speculation. (His definition of alternate histories are peculiar. He includes political sf like Fail-Safe.)  He also writes on why he likes sub-genre.

If the Moors in Spain Had Won“, Philip Guedalla — Like most essays in this book promise to be, this story (told in excerpts from travel books, history texts, diplomatic papers, and newspapers) this is a rich source for alternate world ideas. The work not only develops its premise but wryly comments on historical study:  chance events of little seeming significance to change things drastically, the events of our history were not inevitable, over reliance on economic factors in studying history, and belief that events in our history were for the best.

If Don John of Austria Had Married Mary Queen of Scots“,  G.K. Chesterton — A rather muddled piece of writing (part of problem could be I’m not familiar with the fine points of English history) whose purpose seems to be less constructing an alternate history than an edifying Christian legend of true love (which, evidently, the rest of us mortals can not achieve due to the Original Sin) in Don John and Mary’s marriage. Chesterton’s portrayal of Mary (perhaps because he is a Catholic) seems very idealized though he does seem to validly suggest Mary was a charming, beautiful, vigorous monarch. Chesterton seems to think their marriage would have included England in a greater community (that would have been created with the marriage) of a Europe with Christian traditions and morality and Renaissance vigor and questioning. He seems to attack Puritan influence on England as culturally mordant and brutal. He does have a satirical wit in regard to the question of history and study. He also has a valid point when he says we should consider personal motives such as attraction (and, unspoken, sex) as well as great abstract motives of diplomacy and economics. (A similar point as to Ward Moore’s saying history is made by people obsessed with the trivial.) Continue reading