Simon Heffer

Strife Without End

Sacred Causes: Religion and Politics from the European Dictators to Al Qaeda

By

HarperPress 557pp £25 order from our bookshop

Michael Burleigh is a man of formidable erudition and remarkable percipience. That he should combine these talents with a loathing of cant, hypocrisy and sentimentality has helped him to fashion an objectivity in his writing that redoubles his already significant standing as an historian. Perhaps best known for his stunning history of the Third Reich, Burleigh last year published Earthly Powers, a chronicle of the interaction of religion and politics from the French Revolution to the Great War. Sacred Causes brings the story up to the present date. Second volumes are often disappointing, but in the scope of his material, the clarity of his thought and the pungency of his conclusions, Burleigh has, if anything, surpassed his earlier achievement.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'It would be nice to think that women will achieve equal pay in my lifetime, rather than to watch gloomily as stati… ,
    • In 1660, two of the signatories of King Charles I's death warrant fled across the Atlantic to New England. But were… ,
    • Howard Jacobson's sixteenth novel is 'a love story of sorts, one characterised not by physical desire or even conta… ,
    • 'The sudden immersion in the new and unfamiliar can lead people to write with a rare lack of self-consciousness' P… ,
    • 'Pools bend the rules. Clothes slip off, skin glistens, consciousness heightens. A dreamlike scenario unfolds' Jam… ,
    • 'Although he surely didn’t know W H Auden’s theory that every high C proclaims human freedom and our capacity to tr… ,
    • RT : With beginning tomorrow, we've uncovered a 1997 article from the archive reviewing 'Golf Dream… ,