A Political History of the Modern World
By John Rees
Routledge – 2013 – 210 pages
War and revolution, economic crises and political conflict are the very stuff of modern history. This guide to the last 100 years of great power conflict, social rebellion, strikes and protests gives us the essential history of the world in which we live. Based on the Timeline TV series this is a rapid and accessible guide for those who want to know how power is exercised, by who, and for what purposes in the modern world.
From the rise and fall of great empires in two world wars, the Cold War and the ‘war on terror’ through to the rise of China Timelines describes the shifts in the imperial structure of the world. And it looks at the impact of those changes in the conflict zones of the 21st century, including Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran.
Finally Timelines looks at moments of popular resistance, from the Russian and Spanish revolutions to the fall of Apartheid in the 1990s and the ongoing socialist experiment that is Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela. We live in turbulent times. These essays show us how we got here and outline the forces that are going to shape the history of the 21st century.
Introduction: The Shape of the Modern World Section 1: The Rise and Fall of Great Powers 1. The First World War 2. The Revolutions that Made Russia 3. The Consequences of the First World War 4. The Rise of Fascism 5. The Spanish Civil War 6. The Real History of the Second World War 7. The Cold War 8. China 9. Obama and US Power Section 2: Empire and After 10. Afghanistan 11. Iran 12. Palestine 13. Vietnam 14. Iraq 15. Ireland 16. Immigration Section 3: The Rulers and the Ruled 17. Recessions and Resistance 18. The Civil Rights Movement 19. 1968: The Year that Changed the World 20. South Africa’s Struggle from Freedom 21. Thatcherism 22. The Revolutions of 1989 23. Hugo Chavez's Revolution 24. Student Revolts. Conclusion: The First Decade of the New Millennium
John Rees’ books include The Algebra of Revolution, Imperialism and Resistance, Strategy and Tactics and The People Demand a Short History of the Arab Revolutions (with Joseph Daher). He is a member of the Editorial Board of Counterfire and a co-founder of the Stop the War Coalition.