The End Is Always Near by Dan Carlin (2020)

jwoodie

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Thankfully, this light read on "Apocalyptic Moments from the Bronze Age Collapse to Nuclear Near Misses" was written before the Covid-19 pandemic and avoids that current hysteria. It provides some interesting details about the history of military conquests and raises some philosophical questions regarding "the greater good" of warfare. However, its analogies to modern events start to unravel under closer scrutiny.

For example, the invention and use of new weapons at the end of WW2 has not made a nuclear WW3 inevitable. Rather, it has introduced a new element to a future world war: Those who would initiate it would be among the first to die. This still leaves room for proxy battles and isolated terrorist attacks, but the huge casualty figures from previous wars now seems increasingly unlikely.

The last chapter, The Road to Hell, peters out as little more than anecdotal instances of the individual horrors of war, designed to elicit emotion rather than intellect. It was certainly awful to be killed or maimed by an atomic bomb blast, but was it so different from all other forms of death or injury that we should immediately surrender our liberties to the first would-be aggressor? Even presenting this idea as a legitimate consideration reveals that the author is not without his own utopian predilections.
 
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