I spent a few months last year reading books on civil wars in modern history which may be relevant to our current situation. A short thread with some book recommendations and comments: (1/n)
My favourite book on the subject is Stanley Payne's 'Civil War in Europe, 1905–1949'. The 12-page introduction is worth its weight in gold and freely accessible on Google Books etc google.co.uk/books/edition/… (2/n)
A few quotes from Payne's intro: "deteriorating conditions do not generally provoke revolution, but that complaints tend instead to increase after conditions have begun to improve" This is Tocqueville's theory on revolutions. (3/n)
quoting Theodore Hamerow: "Economic privation is not the key factor in the downfall of established authority any more than political repression…. What makes the economic situation seem intolerable is not deteriorating conditions but rising expectations." (4/n)
"Revolutions occur only when the old order has become relatively weak. Thus the initial revolution that accomplishes its overthrow is sometimes comparatively easy and often not accompanied by great disorder or bloodshed." (5/n)
"One major way in which revolutionary civil wars have differed from both international conflicts and more traditional civil wars has been their greater tendency to dehumanize opponents" (6/n)
"Their protagonists have tended to regard the opposition not merely as a political foe but as the bearer of an entire adversarial culture or religion, a totally different system of belief, values, and morality, which threatens every dimension of life." (7/n)
"Thus the goal is often not merely military victory but complete extirpation in one form or another, often leading to massive repression and executions." (8/n)
"civil war...tendency to overturn the legal system, justifying extreme means and demanding total triumph that requires the absolute political, and sometimes physical, elimination of the enemy, to show pity for whom is held to be a sign of weakness and lack of commitment." (9/n)
"revolutionary violence is important in its symbolism and in its religious role, both as sacrificial and as redemptive violence, and in the expurgative killing of scapegoats." (10/n)
IMO Stanley Payne has also written the only readable and even-handed book on the Spanish Civil War. Hugh Thomas' book which is often recommended is too long and impossible to follow unless you already know a lot about the topic google.co.uk/books/edition/… (11/n)
The Spanish Civil War is a prototype of a modern civil war where two sides battle for power aimed "not merely at political domination, but at imposing totally contrasting programs in society, economics, culture, and even religion - two completely antagonistic ways of life" (12/n)
James McPherson's 'Battle Cry of Freedom' is the obvious and easy choice for the American Civil War, an unusually easy read for such a long book. Although I'm not sure it is as relevant to the current situation. (13/n)
On the English Civil War, Blair Worden's 'The English Civil Wars 1640-1660' is short, lucid, and more than enough for most purposes. google.co.uk/books/edition/… (14/n)

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Ashwin Parameswaran

Ashwin Parameswaran Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!