countdown boutiques-francophones Learn more scflyout Furniture All-New Kindle Music Deals Store sports Tools Registry

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
Format: Hardcover|Change
Price:$46.68+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on May 30, 2002
"Tragedy and Hope" is a sprawling history of the world during approximately the period 1890-1960. If one is looking for the details of some half-forgotten international incident during this period, he is likely to find them somewhere in this book. Reading "Tragedy and Hope" is a good refresher course for anyone wishing to understand twentieth-century history, especially the two World Wars, the events leading up to them, and their consequences. Unfortunately the index is sketchy and not always helpful in this process. Furthermore, footnotes and a bibliography are entirely lacking. Although the author, Carroll Quigley, was an eminent academic, this is not an academic textbook, and it is hard to tell just what was its intended audience.
The archetype of "Tragedy and Hope" is the work of Procopius, a courtier in the time of the Byzantine emperor Justinian, whose official history, the " De Aedificiis," celebrated the accomplishments of his monarch - but who supplemented it with a secret history, the "Anecdota," in which he spilled the dirt on the emperor and his wife Theodora. Much of the interest in Quigley's book centers around his dirt-spilling account of the machinations of international bankers and of the organizations they formed to exert influence behind-the-scenes on political and diplomatic activity, such as the Round Table, the Royal Institute of International Affairs and the Council on Foreign Relations. While his discussion of these matters occupies a fairly small number of the book's 1300-odd pages, it has drawn the attention of so-called "conspiracy theorists," mostly on the political right (e.g. the John Birch Society) but also some on the left, such as the sociologist G. William Domhoff, who pursue much the same theme - that the domestic and international policy of the United States (and other countries) are manipulated by a "power élite" in a way that makes their supposed democracy largely a sham.
Quigley falls neither into the right- or left-wing camps, and was in fact a liberal internationalist who held views essentially sympathetic to those of the supposed conspirators. He did, however, object to the secretiveness with which they pursued their goals. His book went out of print after its first run despite popular demand. He attributed this to an attempt to suppress it by the forces he "exposed," which have been paranoia on his part, or evidence of an easily bruised academic ego - but certainly encouraged the conspiratorial view among others. Bill Clinton's public acknowledgment of Carroll Quigley as his mentor touched off renewed conspiratorial theorizing.
A broad view of human societies can do nothing but confirm the truth that élites are and have always been an inevitable feature of them all. That there has been an élite in western Europe and North America, made up of a mixture of financiers, industrialists, high-ranking government officials, and the social upper crust; and that this élite has exerted an influence disproportionate to its numbers, should hardly come as a surprise. If all these people were to have been eliminated in one fell swoop, they would simply have been replaced by another élite, differently constituted and differently motivated. What Quigley makes clear is that the élite he describes acted with a curious blend of altruism, self-interest, and often, naïveté. Their best-laid plans many times were based on misinformation and came disastrously a-cropper. The impression one gets is more often one of bumbling rather than of sinister genius.
Two points emerge from Quigley's presentation of this history. First is that he believes in the rule of experts - that people with proper knowledge and understanding (like his) would not have committed the errors he describes. Academics and professionally-trained managers are to be preferred to members of the big business haute-bourgeoisie and the decaying landed aristocracy. This book first appeared in the era of "the best and the brightest," and Quigley shows himself to be a creature of its zeitgeist. How ironic that managerial bureaucrats of the Robert McNamara type proceeded to steer us into the Vietnam quagmire and "stagflation"!
Second, one of Quigley's repeated strictures on the old Eastern establishment is that it was "Anglophile." It is important to understand what this meant at the time the establishment described by Quigley was in its ascendancy. Then the sun never set on the British empire, and London was the world's financial center. New York was the American satellite of that sun, and exerted a degree of financial dominance over the rest of the United States we have not experienced in many years. There was, in the great American heartland, a strong suspicion of this arrangement, as expressed by such conservative figures as Sen. Robert Taft and Col. Robert R. McCormick of the Chicago Tribune. This view is most superfically and inadequately dismissed as "isolationism." Much of the history Quigley recounts suggests that the United States entered World War I as a result of the Anglophilia of the Eastern establishment, and the conclusion to which that war came as a consequence of American intervention set the stage for World War II. Although this in many ways confirms the suspicions of the "isolationists," Quigley cannot bring himself to say anything good about such unspeakable Midwestern yokels and hayseeds. Yet he does not approve of the "Anglophilia" of the Eastern establishment.
How much of Quigley's point of view was determined not by his academic studies but by something much closer to the heart - his identity as an Irish Catholic? From his office on the Georgetown campus he looked to the west and saw hordes of unwashed Methodists and Baptists, disgusting to his Roman Catholic sensibilities; Norman Rockwell America, but with Klan robes in its closet. Looking to his east he saw the hated Sassenach, hereditary enemy of the Irish, allied to an "Anglophile" and Protestant - mainly Episcopalian - eastern-seaboard American establishment that aped English manners and tastes. He could not stomach either group, and so he wrote this book.
0Comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 2, 2006
I suggest Skousen's the Naked Capitalist if you want a proper commentary on Tragedy and Hope. Be warned that the labelling of any and all attempts to shed light on the inner workings of the Institution simply by calling it a "conspiracy" is a lazy conclusion, the natural product of barren minds. Worse yet would be to blame the whole book on the religious heritage of the author. There certainly is more to the book that that. You really have to read the book for yourself and decide for yourself if you think Carrol has anything valid to say. But be warned, it will rock your canoe. Many of the skeptical comments that I frequently see on this material stem from an inborn fear (acknowledged or not) that one of the reasons Quigley wrote the book might be true -- which is to say that it's much too late to do anything about it. That may be true, but my personal sentiment is that I'd still like to know anyway, and hence my recommendation is to read the book.
0Comment| 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 5, 2003
This is an amazing book that every serious student of modern history ought to read. Understand that it is an undertaking. The book in hardcover form is over 1300 pages. The detail is, as a previous reviewer suggests, difficult to find elsewhere. From this perspective, the book is hugely important. Professor Quigley also advances some compelling explantions for history that still resonate today, such as the existence of the Pakistan-Peruvian Axis, which has promulgated the cancer of Islamic culture throughout the world.
However, it is certainly true that Quigley's massive undertaking is flawed with his obvious misunderstanding of macroeconmics. His prescription for Keynsian planning and the heralding of the success of planned economies relative to lassez faire economies has probably influenced much of the thinking of America's elite for decades. Will those elites finally wake up to the reality that socialism doesn't work? Or, do they understand that socialism does work well, so long as you're in charge of the socialist government. The next century will be the story of how these questions are answered by history.
The book is excellent and well worth the time and effort. I wish Professor Quigley was still around to comment on how things have changed since this work was completed.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 6, 2002
Quigleys' Tragedy and Hope is perhaps one of the most revealing of books on what appears to be a conspiracy but I suggest to all that the conspiracy is not one of mans makings. I have read many conspiracy books and find that they all have one thing in common,
What rules the world is the true nature of man. I find I must agree with Quigleys thought that if the present sitting order of leadership were displaced that another would quickly (or immediately) take the positions.
If the reader is to be honest, we all are actually unaware of our own true action when put in the place of power and money. Greed and power have a way of both tantilizing and seducing even the strongest of characters.
Though the conspiracy is deep within the realm of the supernatural, the predominant conspiracy is non-factual simply because of the tremendous amount of interaction of dates,times and events. It doesn't seem feasible that any one,two or however many groups could correlate all events into one plan. In fact the more groups involved the larger the chance of failure...
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 3, 2003
This book goes hand in hand with chapter 4 in "Fire in the Minds of Men" by James Billington. Billington was a Rhodes Scholar, taught history at Princeton and Harvard for 17 years and is currently the Librarian of Congress. In that chapter he discusses for the 18th century what Quigly discusses for the 20th.
The conclusions people draw about the power elite, even Billington's and Quigly's, are humorous. The fact is, that definitely not all but some at the top of the top, the true powerful social engineers- they are libertarian, objectivists. For them to act or say so outright and fully would be suicide.
The right-wingers are so sure the Illuminati are hardcore left-wing conspirators and the left is convinced they are extreme right-wingers. Hilarious. A very curious, very real twist to the story that Billington began and Quigly continued is to be found in a little book called the "Illuminati Manifesto" by Solomon Tulbure. Interesting and important to note that they ARE slowly making their presence known to the public; with the latter book being published, with Clinton pointing the public to Quigly in his speech, etc...
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 15, 2014
Tres bon livre. Je recommande a tous!!!!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 27, 2015
An eye opener.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 17, 2002
BTW. If you want the book now, the John Birch Society, aka The New American book store sells the book too. It's usually availabe right away--in stock.
Good Reading.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 30, 2002
Quigley presents a wealth of detail and insider information on the behind the scenes political, social and economic struggles of the first half of the 20th Century. This detail is unavailable anywhere else, making this book indispensable in understanding the history of the time. It's only flaw in this regard, as described previously, is a lack of reference to primary materials. However, this book also serves to illustrate the fallacies of the elitist policies Quigley sanctions.
Quigley's economic analysis - which he spends too many pages on, describing in embarrassing detail - leaves much to be desired. His confused international and domestic Keynesianism logically leads him to such barbarisms as claiming that the best solution to the poverty of the Great Depression was to slow production, to leave crops in the fields to rot, and to expend labor on useless (or unusable) output - in other words, solve want by working hard to produce nothing. He boasts that the European welfare state was a model for the world, but must grudgingly admit that American economic success and financing of European defense was the crutch that made it sustainable. Finally, the "Hope" he endorses is an internationalism and a socialism that has clearly failed to deliver on its promises. Of course, Quigley cannot be singled out exclusively, since these confusions were widely shared by the elite of his time.
The latest cover jacket for "Tragedy and Hope" - (from 1993?) - markets the book as a tool for understanding the mind of the newly elected President Clinton. This is very true, as these flawed ideas were the basis of the unpopular failures of his first term, and even some of the failures of the administration before his. While Quigley's book serves to describe - and unwittingly illustrate - the failures of the century, a more educational treatise for understanding the economic history and successes of the century would be "Commanding Heights" by Yergin and Stanislaw.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse