From Macaulay in the 19th century to Fukuyama in the late 20th, historians have often been lulled into thinking that things can only get better. Such belief in progress, argues leading political commentator Simon Heffer, may be typical of times of plenty, but it ignores a less palatable truth: that, since the beginnings of recorded history, the major events in international relations can be attributed to a single cause, the desire by rulers to assert or protect their power. Taking a panoramic view from the days of Thucydides up to the present, Heffer offers a fourfold analysis of the motive forces behind the pursuit of power: land, wealth, God and minds. If we understand these forces, he contends, we can more clearly understand why history is destined to repeat itself.
Simon Heffer was born in 1960. He read English at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and later received a PhD in history from that university. He has been deputy editor of the Daily Telegraph and of the Spectator, and a columnist for both. He now writes for the Daily Mail and is Editor of Mail Comment Online. His books include biographies of Thomas Carlyle, Enoch Powell, Edward VII and Vaughan Williams. He is currently writing a book on Victorian England, to be published in 2013.
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