An age of progress? : clashing twentieth-century global forces /
Walter G. Moss.
London ; New York : Anthem Press, 2008.
xxvii, 325 p. : maps ; 25 cm.
1843313014 (hbk.), 9781843313014 (hbk.)
More Details
London ; New York : Anthem Press, 2008.
1843313014 (hbk.)
9781843313014 (hbk.)
contents note
A century of violence -- Science, technology, and the acceleration of change -- Capitalism, socialism, and communism -- Imperialism, nationalism, and globalization -- Freedom and human rights -- Changing environments -- Culture and social criticism -- Values and virtues -- An age of progress.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [269]-297) and index.
A Look Inside
First Chapter

Wars and Deaths at the Century's Beginning

The century began in bloodshed. In the Philippines, following the Spanish–American War (1898), tens of thousands of U.S. troops battled Filipino guerrilla forces resisting the U.S. takeover of this area won from Spain. From 1899–1902 both sides committed atrocities, and more than 4,000 U.S. troops died while the number of Filipino combatant and non-combatant deaths in the war is usually estimated at over 200,000. Here is what one participating U.S. officer had to say about the conflict:

Our men have been relentless, have killed to exterminate men, women, and children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people, from lads of ten up, an idea prevailing that the Filipino was little better than a dog, a noisome reptile in some instances, whose best disposition was the rubbish heap. Our soldiers have pumped salt water into men “to make them talk,” have taken prisoners of people who had held up their hands and peacefully surrendered, and, an hour later, without an atom of evidence to show that they were even insurrectos, stood them up on a bridge, and shot them down one by one to drop into the water below and float down as examples to those who found their bullet-loaded corpses.

Other soldiers who served in the Philippines made the following comments. One wrote:

There is not a feature of the whole miserable business that a patriotic American citizen, one who loves to read of the brave deeds of the American colonists in the splendid struggle for American independence, can look upon with complacency, much less with pride. This war is reversing history. It places the American people and the government of the United States in the position occupied by Great Britain in 1776. It is an utterly causeless and defenseless war, and it should be abandoned by this government without delay. The longer it is continued, the greater crime it becomes—a crime against human liberty as well as against Christianity and civilization.

Another soldier described a specific attack as such:

We burned hundreds of houses and looted hundreds more. Some of the boys made good hauls of jewelry and clothing. Nearly every man has at least two suits of clothing, and our quarters are furnished in style; fine beds with silken drapery, mirrors, chairs, rockers, cushions, pianos, hanging-lamps, rugs, pictures, etc. We have horses and carriages, and bull-carts galore, and enough furniture and other plunder to load a steamer.

Another soldier wrote:

We bombarded a place called Malabon, and then we went in and killed every native we met, men, women, and children. It was a dreadful sight, the killing of the natives.The natives captured some of the Americans and literally hacked them to pieces, so we got orders to spare no one.

In South Africa, British troops were engaged in the Boer War (1899–1902) against the Boers, who were primarily descendants of Dutch colonists. It was also a brutal conflict with atrocities on both sides before the British were finally victorious. Besides the above conflicts, there were still others continuing or breaking out in 1900. In West Africa, tightening imperialist controls occasioned rebellion among the Ashanti people of the Gold Coast (modern-day Ghana). In northeastern Africa, Mohammed bin Abdullah Hassan, whom the British referred to as the Mad Mullah, had begun a military campaign to unite the Somalis and drive out the British infidels. With varying degrees of intensity, this warrior and self-proclaimed Mahdi (Islamic prophet/savior) continued his jihad (holy war) until British bombing and his death in 1920 ended the rebellion. In other parts of Africa, imperialist oppression and native resistance combined to produce numerous additional deaths during the first decade of the new century.
 In the Congo Free State, which was anything but “free,” King Leopold of Belgium ruled as his personal possession a territory larger than the combined area of Germany, England, France, Italy, and Spain until finally foreign criticism of excessive colonial abuses pressured him to allow it to become a Belgian colony. During 1885–1908—the period of his personal control—millions of natives died prematurely due to the oppressive policies of the king and his Congo administrators. In German southwest Africa (today’s Namibia) a rebellion by the Herero people between 1904 and 1907 led to fierce German retribution to quell the rebellion, and tens of thousands of native men, women, and children were killed.

In Latin America the War of a Thousand Days, a Colombian civil war from 1899–1902, left approximately 100,000 dead. In China, an international force of eight countries combined in 1900 to end the anti-imperialist rampage of the Boxer Rebellion, which killed not only foreigners but also Chinese converts to Christianity. While Western papers highlighted the Boxer atrocities, the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy criticized both Nicholas II of Russia and Wilhelm II of Germany for participating in the armed international response which he labeled an unjust and cruel “slaughter.”

Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2008-10-01:
This unusual though potentially useful work is described in the front jacket flap as a "review" of the century's history. Moss (Eastern Michigan Univ.), author of a well-known 20th-century world history text (The Twentieth Century and Beyond: A Global History, 7th ed., 2007), examines a multitude of subjects, broad and narrow, in an effort to answer the question posed in the title. This is a topical rather than chronological approach, and Moss is both selective and encyclopedic in the coverage he offers. The first of nine chapters addresses the violence that characterized the century, covering events from its early political assassinations to the mass deaths produced by the institutionalized violence of totalitarian regimes. Other chapters examine science and technology, major ideologies, and broader topics such as freedom, the environment, cultural/social criticism, and values. The final chapter seeks to identify areas in which progress is discernible. The ambitious nature of this work is evident in the astounding array of factual information that the author assembled in support of his analyses. Moss has adroitly compressed an enormous amount of information into a relatively brief study. For anyone who teaches the subject, this book is valuable for both reference and review. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division and graduate students and library collections. B. T. Browne Broward Community College
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, October 2008
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Table of Contents
Mapsp. viii
Chronologyp. xiii
Prefacep. xxv
A Century of Violencep. 1
Science, Technology, and the Acceleration of Changep. 37
Capitalism, Socialism, and Communismp. 59
Imperialism, Nationalism, and Globalizationp. 91
Freedom and Human Rightsp. 123
Changing Environmentsp. 155
Culture and Social Criticismp. 189
Values and Virtuesp. 225
An Age of Progress?p. 249
Notesp. 269
Glossaryp. 299
Indexp. 305
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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