instead was a scene like what Martha Gellhorn, covering the war for Collier's, discovered in the depths of the Italian. In the mid-1960s, when my friends and I were out infiltrating Nazi strongholds along the mossy stillness of an apartment-building gangway, charging phantom Nip battalions in the green depths of a park, executing daring flanking attacks against the Wehrmacht among the weed towers and cinder. As John Keegan writes, it was "the most stunning and decisive blow in the history of naval warfare." Its consequences were instant, permanent and devastating. The Allied army allowed the forward wedge of panzers to penetrate the lines, then made a flanking attack and encircled them from the rear. They tore the masks off their car headlights, and the streets suddenly danced with countless crazy shadows. It's no problem of course, if you have sufficient archaeological patience, to root out a more complicated form of historical truth; bookstores offer everything from thumpingly vast general surveys to war-gaming tactical analyses of diversionary skirmishes to maniacally detailed collector's encyclopedias about tank treads.
A liberal essay describing the origins and roles of competition and cooperation in human society. World War II has faded into movies, anecdotes, and archives that nobody cares about anymore. Are we finally losing the war?
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There would be a spectacular network of freeways, rivaling the great roads of the Roman empire, linking the Crimea and Norway, the Urals and the coast of France. In 1986, researchers studied two groups of men between the ages of 25 and 64: those that made less than 9,000 a year, and those that made more than 25,000. They would gladly have shut the festival down; in fact, they wanted to burn the opera house to the ground and ban performances of Wagner's works everywhere in Germany. Less than half the households in America had been wired for phone service, and the government was still underwriting rural electrification projects to bring the vast areas outside big cities onto the power grid. That endless, tormenting tension, that permanent despairing exhaustion brought on by years of adrenalin and reflexive terror - they could let all that go now. There would be no need to compete for survival, and no need to kill anyone to survive. No other opera is so casually exact about its location, its sights, its atmosphere; each scene is so deeply realized, you can even tell what the temperature. Everyone who saw him could tell what was going on: the war was consuming him along with the Reich.
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