Virtual Voices

Weekend Reads: Romance, certainty, and supremacy

"Weekend Reads: Romance, certainty, and supremacy" Continued...

The old Holy Roman Empire, weak and disunited, was easy prey for Louis XIV’s France and any number of its other neighbors. Indeed, at times in the 17th century, it appeared that Sweden would make a virtual colony of “the Germanies.” But the united Germany of the Third Reich provoked an unstoppable coalition that did, in fact, colonize half the country for 40 years.

Simms’ unapologetically realist view leads to some statements that, to a contemporary American audience, appear almost ludicrously politically incorrect. Simms argues that Lincoln’s emancipation of American slaves was driven not by moral concerns, but by the logic of grand strategy. In order to compete on the world stage, the United States had to unite its population. The same motives, according to Simms, drove Russian emancipation of the serfs. 

If you like a little art and culture with your record of the past, don’t read Simms. But those who enjoy watching grown-up states beat on each other will find Simms a veritable romp. 

Caleb Nelson
Caleb Nelson

Caleb grew up on a ranch in northern Colorado and is currently pursuing ordination in the Presbyterian Church in America. He lives in Greenville, S.C.

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