We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
It's the most enjoyable history book I've read in years, packed with color, remarkable details, and insights into the recent route to the modern world. A page-turner, in fact.
I was not surprised how much I had forgotten about Frederick the Great.
As Publisher's Weekly says:
Blanning, professor of modern history at the University of Cambridge, has performed the miracle of balancing and blending traditional political and diplomatic accounts with the newer fields of social, economic and intellectual history. A prime example of this is the author's treatment of the impact of the new "public sphere." As people discoursed through coffeehouses, Masonic organizations or periodicals, "a new source of authority emerged to challenge the opinion-makers of the old regime: public opinion."
You may be interested in Peter Watson's "A Terrible Beauty".
Ideas and forces that have shaped the modern mind.
A sort of Readers Digest of the 20th Century that is remarkably interesting and insightful. Its a powerful read; its affected my own viewpoints by giving me a deeper understanding of where we came from and how we got here.