Reading Corner: Paris 1919
I am an avid reader and since summer is the traditional time for people to catch up on their reading I thought I would start posting a weekly (or semi-weekly) book review to offer suggestions.
With the Middle East and Iraq at the top of the news I thought I’d start with a book that looks back at a previous time when the world faced a dramatically changing world
Paris 1919 is a look at the first six months of the Paris peace conference at the end of the First World War. Interestingly the conference actually was not intended to be what it turned out to be. When President Wilson travelled to Europe in December 1918 it was assumed he would be there for a few months at most. During that time he and the other leaders would set down the basic framework for the peace talks and then the real diplomats would have the ‘real conference’.
As is often the case this was not what happened and before anyone knew it the preliminary talks became the actual peace talks. Over the six months of January to June 1919 they set down the framework for the post WW1 era which in turn led to both World War Two and by extension our own modern world.
The book does take a little time to get in to if you are not a historian (I am a history buff but I know not all of us are). But as the story moves along you become enveloped in the many dueling interests of the period. It sounds very much like our modern day situation with America vs Europe, ethnic and religious conflicts, left versus right battles and so on.
Like the 1814 conference of Vienna (the subject of a future book review) Paris was a key event in the history of the modern world. This book is an excellent primer.