A review by Robert R. Rea in The Washington Sunday Star, 16 June
of a book:
TRAGEDY AND HOPE: A History of the World in Our Time,
by Carroll Quigley.
New York: The Macmillan Company, 1966
“New Impressive History of Western Civilization”
TRAGEDY AND HOPE: A
History of the World in Our
By Carroll Quigley
The Macmillan Co., 1,348
This year the Twentieth Century fulfills the term of its “middle age,”
and to most of us who have known no other century, that is a rather
frightening thought. Happily, we are seldom called upon to
recognize passing time in either the course of our own lives or that of
modern civilization. An army of persuaders promises eternal youth,
and historians piously intone the platitudes of the past in order that
we may avoid the realities of the present. That is tragic. Yet there is hope, as Georgetown University Professor Carroll Quigley
sagely observes, in the fact that all over the world men are asking the
question, “Where are we going?” We must first know from whence we
came, and to trace that path Mr. Quigley has written a history which is
great in scope and great in size, as befits both its tragic theme of
human ignorance and error and its hope that men may, in future, triumph
over the troubles of our time.
Carroll Quigley Ph.D.
There was once a Nineteenth Century, an age when men knew their place
and kept (or were kept) in it, when nations played a polite and harmless
game called diplomacy (or imperialism, if only one side knew how to
play). There was room and food and time enough to perfect the
techniques of production, to construct vast economic webs, to
concentrate power as never before in human history. About 1895,
these uncontrolled processes became devastatingly entangled, and for the
next fifty years men fought through two incomparably awful wars and
suffered through a great depression, all, presumably, to maintain or win
for themselves the fruits of material progress. As Mr. Quigley
amply demonstrates, there is quite a lot of doubt as to whether they
accomplished very much toward that end.
Shortly after 1945, the Twentieth Century freed itself of this bloody
afterbirth, buried its predecessor under some fifty million victims of
world war, and began the struggle to achieve its own identity. Today the hope of our young-old century lies in its conquest of
ignorance, its constructive application of potentially limitless power,
and its utilization of human resources toward the goal of universal
Mr. Quigley's history throws a hot, burning light into the most obscure
corners of the world, and no reader can remain unmoved by the drama he
unfolds. His stage is world-wide, and every act and every scene is
pertinent to his plot. Much that is old is presented in a new
light, and much is told that most modern chroniclers prefer to avoid. His book is unique in its emphasis upon the economic and financial
history of the Twentieth Century and their relationship to world events. Mr. Quigley also insists that men who walk in space dare not think as
did their fathers who strode behind a plow. The tools have changed
and so must we -- socially, economically, politically -- else we will
fall into some man-made sun.
“Tragedy and Hope” will excite some hot denials and rebuttals, for Mr.
Quigley bluntly states some unpleasant truths about ourselves, and he
persists in finding human causes for the events of human history. He slaughters sacred cows, and his book will raise howls of protest from
many corners of our fat and happy (for which read rich and righteous)
land. These will be a measure of the author’s perspicacity and the
validity of his argument. If history is read in the later
Twentieth Century, this book will stand as a beacon illuminating the
past and pointing the way toward a better future.
--Robert R. Rea.
(Research professor of history, Auburn University, Auburn, Ala.)
of original review