The Revenge of History: The Battle for the 21st Century

One of Britain’s foremost political writers confronts the decade of living dangerous: from 9/11 to the Arab Spring and beyond.

From 9/11 to the Arab Spring and beyond – encompassing the economic crisis, the rise of China, and conflicts in the Middle East – The Revenge of History turns the orthodoxies of the past generation on their head.

In this coruscating account of the first decade of the twenty-first century, Seumas Milne presents a powerful indictment of the United States, a global and corporate empire in decline. Milne also examines the causes of the credit crisis and the Great Recession, reveals the policy of humanitarian military intervention to be a failed land grab, explains the dynamo behind the roaring Chinese economy and discovers new models of society flourishing in Latin America. Brilliant, bold and always incisive, The Revenge of History is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand what has gone wrong.


  • “Reading Seumas Milne, one often has a feeling of physical relief: finally someone not only sees the truth but articulates it with thrilling erudition and moral clarity. Tracking a decade of ruinous lies from the right and unheeded warnings from the left, this is a book with an urgent message: it’s time to win more than arguments.”
  • “A tour de force of analysis, clarity, and writing … one of the few beacons of sanity over the past decade.”


  • The war must go on... Sebastian Budgen on the West's strategy after Paris

    The attacks on Paris last Friday, 13th November, have prompted a predictable response: bombs abroad and a further restriction of civil liberties at home, not to mention a ratcheting up of Islamophobia. Sebastian Budgen analyses the wisdom of this approach.

    This is perhaps the moment to take a step back to review the brilliance of West's counterrorist strategy, which we can then admire in all its strategic and tactical coherence:

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  • #ParisAttacks: A reading list

    On Friday 13th November, 129 people lost their lives in a series of attacks in Paris reportedly carried out by Islamic State. They join the dead of Beirut, Suruç, Syria, Iraq and countless other war-torn regions as innocent victims of a conflict that knows no civilians.  

    The urgency with which we have to pull ourselves back from the brink is signalled not only by the brutality of the reactions, but by the fact that they are by now entirely predictable: airstrikes abroad, destructive of life but strategically pointless; attacks on muslim populations in the west, dubbed 'revenge' by a racist media.

    All is fuel on the fire. More than ever, we need to understand the situation in all its complexities.

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  • Patrick Cockburn: No security can stop Isis – the bombers will always get through

    Patrick Cockburn writes for the Independent:

    The “Islamic State”, as Isis styles itself, will be pleased with the outcome of its attacks in Paris. It has shown that it can retaliate with its usual savagery against a country that is bombing its territory and is a power to be feared at a time when it is under serious military pressure. The actions of just eight Isis suicide bombers and gunmen are dominating the international news agenda for days on end.

    There is not a lot that can be done about this. People are understandably eager to know the likelihood of their being machine-gunned the next time they sit in a restaurant or attend a concert in Paris or London. 

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Other books by Seumas Milne