Ring of Steel by Alexander Watson (2014) A synopsis

Books & Boots

Introduction

Ring of Steel sets out:

  1. to explore how popular consent for the First World War was won and maintained in Austria-Hungary and Germany from 1914 to 1918
  2. to explain how extreme and escalating violence radicalised both German and Austro-Hungarian war aims, leading to the institution of slave labour and the stripping of agricultural and industrial resources in the occupied territories, and encouraging plans for the permanent annexation of Belgium, northern France and west Russia
  3. to describe the societal fragmentation caused by the war, especially in an Austria-Hungary already deeply fissured by ethnic tensions and which eventually collapsed into a host of new nation states; Germany was more ethnically homogenous and had been more socially unified in support of war so the end, when it came, unleashed a flood of bitterness and anger which expressed itself not along ethnic but along class lines, leading to street fighting between parties of…

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The Dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire 1867-1918 by John W. Mason (1985)

Books & Boots

This is another very short book, one of the popular Seminar Studies in History series. These all follow the same layout: 100 or so pages of text divided up into brisk, logical chapters, followed by a short Assessment section, and then a small selection of original source documents from the period.  It’s a very useful format for school or college students to give you a quick, punchy overview of a historical issue.

This one opens by summarising the central challenge faced by the Austro-Hungarian Empire as it entered the twentieth century: how to take forward a fragmented, multi-cultural empire based on traditional dynastic and semi-feudal personal ties into the age of nationalism and democracy where every individual was, in theory at least, a citizen, equal before the law.

On page one Mason locates four key failures of late imperial governance:

  1. the failure to solve the Czech-German conflict in the 1880s…

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Follow The Money: Wind & Solar Lobbies Threw $Millions At ‘Climate Change’ Election (And Lost!)

STOP THESE THINGS

The 2019 Federal election was billed as a referendum on Climate Change, with Labor’s Bill Shorten pitching up a 50% Renewable Energy Target and a whopping carbon dioxide gas tax, to boot. Bill also promised that he would eradicate Australia’s frequent and punishing droughts, with the aid of windmills and solar panels. Although no one, save Bill, was quite sure how this novel and ingenious ‘plan’ would make it rain on cue.

Instead of the Labor landslide predicted by all and sundry, the proletariat gave a pretty fair indication as to where Shifty Shorten could stick his 50% RET.

The broad mass of the great unwashed in Australia’s suburbs and regions worked out long ago that heavily subsidised and chaotically intermittent wind and solar represent a problem, rather than a solution.

Watching their power prices go through the roof, with much worse to come, the ambitious working classes were clearly…

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Man woman couple height, updated

Family Inequality

I had a popular post in 2013 called, “Why taller-wife couples are so rare,” a title given it by my old Atlantic editor, who ran it under a picture of Nicole Kidman (5′ 11″) with her second shorter husband. I also put a version of it in my book Enduring Bonds, and reference it in The Family. In it I used data from the 2009 PSID to show that people are more likely to pair up as taller-man-shorter-woman than would be expected by chance. I’ve now updated it with the 2017 PSID data. This is a revised version of that post with the new data.

Men are bigger and stronger than women. That generalization, although true, doesn’t adequately describe how sex affects our modern lives. In the first place, men’s and women’s size and strength are distributions. Strong women are stronger than weak men, so sex…

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Steven Pinker: Blank Slate

Britain’s First Victory, Germany Plunders Europe & Mussolini’s Folly – WW2 – 063 – November 9, 1940

Twenty years after the Berlin wall. Resistance in a communist state.”

Keynote Address Deirdre McCloskey at Rebuilding Macroeconomics conference

P.T. Bauer (1959) on planning a big push out of Indian poverty

Roger D. Congleton on the gradual nature of democratic reform based on co-option

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