A Common Struggle


In “The Undivided Past,” David Cannadine challenges those who believe that all history is the history of conflict, whether over class, as Marx and Engels proclaimed, or over religion, nationality, race, gender or civilization. The fact is, mankind’s divisions may not be the most important part of the story. As Cannadine succinctly puts it, “humanity is still here.” This is so hopeful a book, and so authoritative in its coverage of history, that a reader wants to believe its thesis. I do, but only in part. Of all the texts that map the world into hopelessly hostile camps, “The Communist Manifesto” no doubt sold the most copies. Its authors argued that two features of class conflict would make it especially significant: class would trump all other forms of division, and the ­differences between classes would prove so profound that their strife could be resolved only through revolution.

more from Alan Wolfe at the NY Times here.