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1920: A Year of Global Turmoil (Paperback)

British History Politics P&S History 20th Century

By David Charlwood
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 296
ISBN: 9781526767172
Published: 15th May 2020

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History Hit

An article written by the author for Dan Snow's History Hit: 'Not our finest hour – Churchill and Britain's forgotten wars of 1920.'

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Violent uprisings are tearing apart the Middle East, nationalism is on the march in Europe and an unlikely presidential candidate is running for election in the US on a populist platform to put 'America first'. The year is 1920.

1920: A Year of Global Turmoil tells the story of twelve months that set in motion one hundred years of history. From America to Asia, the events of 1920 foreshadowed the decline of empires, the coming of another global conflict and the rise of an American president who would change his country's relationship with the world. Weaving personal accounts with grand narrative, it vividly illuminates a past which echoes the present.

I highly recommend this work to any history reader who wants to consider what keys might have led to such a chaotic century. Charlwood makes a strong argument for 1920 being pivotal rather than simply World War I in general. How the powers acted, or didn't act, how the expected revolutions and revolts that result from major armed conflict were either misunderstood or completely ignored. There is plenty here to propel the story and make the argument, and there is also plenty of pointers for interested readers to delve deeper into whatever aspects of 1920 most interest them.

NetGalley, Jack Messer

I’ve actually learnt a lot from this book and I actually plan to go back and re-read it, so it can all sink in properly. In a year when there were so many hopes for a better future, it is amazingly gripping as it almost predicts or foretells what we are going through in today’s world with various problems. This was an excellent book, well written and thought out but probably not one for those that looking to go in-depth on a particular topic but it certainly would prove to be a good springboard to go on to something further. A very good 4 out 5 stars read.

UK Historian

Editor's Choice

This is an eye-opening, sweeping account of the world as it was, 100 years ago, that was, depressingly, very similar to how it is now.

The Armourer, April 2020

Some of these conflicts are still remembered and others are largely forgotten, such as the revolts in Waziristan and Iraq and the destruction of Armenia. However, as Charlwood points out, they are the origin of several current conflicts. This is a concise, informative book and very readable.

Read the full review here

Edward James, The Historical Novel Society

Some of these conflicts are still remembered and others are largely forgotten, such as the revolts in Waziristan and Iraq and the destruction of Armenia. However, as Charlwood points out, they are the origin of several current conflicts. This is a concise, informative book and very readable.

Read the full review here

Edward James, The Historical Novel Society

David's book makes chilling reading.

Books Monthly

The illustrations and binding of this book are to Pen & Sword’s usual high standards. I was particularly moved of a shocking picture of the devastation of Cork City by British forces (which included the Black and Tans, still loathed to this day in Ireland for the atrocities they committed, with the tacit approval of David Lloyd George, the British Premier). That this happened a short distance from London tells us a lot.

Overall, if History was given the priority it deserves, this book should be on school courses, I can’t recommend it enough (I must also draw your attention to his book on the Armenian Genocide, a must-read). This book would also make for a fine TV series. David has a talent for explaining complicated facts in an accessible and entertaining fashion, the hallmark of a truly great writer.

Read the full review here

Hellbound, Steve Earles

History writing at its best, 1920 informs, entices and challenges, teasing out extraordinary parallels between our current world and that of a century ago. The style is crisp yet authoritative, engaging and informative, making connections between seemingly disparate events and reminding us peace is not a given, but a goal to be prized and worked towards.

Tim Butcher, author of Blood River

From Ireland, to Poland, to Iraq, Armenia and Afghanistan, Charlwood immerses the reader in the events of a tumultuous year in which hopes for a new post-war order everywhere crumble. Well-researched and engagingly written.

Matthew Parker, author of Monte Cassino

A remarkable panorama ... History at its best, narrated in gripping style.

Peter Caddick-Adams, author of Sand and Steel

David's book makes chilling reading.

Books Monthly

The illustrations and binding of this book are to Pen & Sword’s usual high standards. I was particularly moved of a shocking picture of the devastation of Cork City by British forces (which included the Black and Tans, still loathed to this day in Ireland for the atrocities they committed, with the tacit approval of David Lloyd George, the British Premier). That this happened a short distance from London tells us a lot.

Overall, if History was given the priority it deserves, this book should be on school courses, I can’t recommend it enough (I must also draw your attention to his book on the Armenian Genocide, a must-read). This book would also make for a fine TV series. David has a talent for explaining complicated facts in an accessible and entertaining fashion, the hallmark of a truly great writer.

Read the full review here

Hellbound, Steve Earles

History writing at its best, 1920 informs, entices and challenges, teasing out extraordinary parallels between our current world and that of a century ago. The style is crisp yet authoritative, engaging and informative, making connections between seemingly disparate events and reminding us peace is not a given, but a goal to be prized and worked towards.

- Tim Butcher, author of Blood River

From Ireland, to Poland, to Iraq, Armenia and Afghanistan, Charlwood immerses the reader in the events of a tumultuous year in which hopes for a new post-war order everywhere crumble. Well-researched and engagingly written.

- Matthew Parker, author of Monte Cassino

A remarkable panorama ... History at its best, narrated in gripping style.

Peter Caddick-Adams, author of Sand and Steel

About David Charlwood

David Charlwood obtained a First Class Honours Degree in history from Royal Holloway, University of London, and has worked as an international journalist and in publishing. His historical research has been published in the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies and he has been a contributing historian for BBC radio. He is the author of four popular history books, including the acclaimed 1920: A Year of Global Turmoil.

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