A Man with an Axe

Michael Burleigh has quite the vocabulary. Every other word in Sacred Causes that I look up (and there are plenty I need to look up) have the intro "archaic" or "old fashioned" to the definition. Maybe it's a British thing. After all, I doubt Paul Johnson could write a book without using the word eirenic at least once. Nothing wrong in a love of obscure words.

It's not the vocabulary that worries me, it's the distinct sense I'm getting by chapter 2 that Mr. Burleigh is a man of fixed opinions. Again, nothing wrong with that. But I suspect he's just sharpening his axe, waiting to grind away in later chapters. He's a conservative of the European sort. Ok, fine. He's not too entranced by the world of the Politically Correct. Still ok. He has a few uncommon opinions - the latest being that Hitler was too stupid to have a coherent point of view on fascism as religion. Hitler the moron is new one for me but why not? Hitler was insane, why shouldn't he be stupid too.

No, it's something around the edges. I can't put my finger on it but I think Michael Burleigh is about to unleash something a little wacky in this book.

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