History Roars Back

Richard Cohen – The Washington Post

Copyright The Washington Post
Last weekend’s book section of the Financial Times contained a capsule review of Stefan Zweig’s “The Post Office Girl,” a novel written in the aftermath of World War I and just recently translated into English. This is an immensely good thing, but really why I mention Zweig comes at the end of the review, when the critic says that the book “is a fascinating depiction of the effects of history on individual lives” — in other words, what is happening to most of us today. History, like an animal escaped from the zoo, is again out of its cage…
… A depression, if it amounts to that, is not just an economic crisis. It’s a historical mugging. Those of us who have been accustomed to exercising control over our lives are about to undergo an awfully frightening experience. This will hit the young particularly hard. If you asked almost any of them over the past 20 years or so why they did not read a newspaper or, really, care about the news at all, the answer was that news was irrelevant to their lives. It did not matter to them what was happening in Washington or London or even Baghdad…
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