Series Foreword Whoever first coined the phrase, "When the siecle hit the fin," described the twentieth century perfectly! The past century was arguably a century of intellectual, physical, and emotional violence unparalleled in world his- tory. As Haynes Johnson of the Washington Post has pointed out in his The Best of Times (2001), "since the first century, 149 million people have died in major wars 111 million of those deaths occurred in the twentieth cen- tury. War deaths per population soared from 3.2 deaths per 1,000 in the sixteenth century to 44.4 per 1,000 in the twentieth.1 Giving parameters to the twentieth century, however, is no easy task. Did it begin in 1900 or 1901? Was it, as in historian Eric Hobsbawm's words, a "short twentieth century," that did not begin until 1917 and end in 1991?2 Or was it more accurately the "long twentieth century," as Giovanni Arrighi argued in The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power, and the Origins of Our Times?3 Strong cases can be made for all of these constructs and it is each reader's prerogative to come to his or her own conclusion. Whatever the conclusion, however, there is a short list of people, events, and intellectual currents found in the period between the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries that is, indeed, impressive in scope. There is little doubt that the hopes represented by the Paris Exhibition of 1900 repre- sented the mood of the time—a time of optimism, even Utopian expecta- tions, in much of the so-called civilized world (which was the only world that counted in those days). Many saw the fruits of the Industrial Revo- lution, the application of science and technology to everyday life, as hav- ing the potential to greatly enhance life, at least in the West.
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