David Andress argues that we are suffering from an attack of social and cultural dementia. The former great powers of the historic 'West' - especially Britain, the USA and France - seem to be abandoning the wisdom of maturity for senile daydreams of recovered youth. Along the way they are stirring up old hatreds, giving disturbing voice to destructive rage, and risking the collapse of their capacity for decisive, effective and just governance., At the core of this dangerous turn is an abandonment of political attention to history, understood as a clear empirical grounding in how we reached our present condition. Historical stories are deployed in public debate as little more than dangerous fantasies. In this blistering assessment David Andress, one of Britain's leading historians of the age of revolutions, shows how the West has abandoned its history and has lost its bearings and its memory.
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