Chris Goldie


Fire and Blood aims to establish the validity of a European civil war, 1914-45 as an historical period. It argues that all “participants” whether civilians or belligerents were governed by its precepts, and that all modes of critical thinking, ethical discourse, artistic and cultural representation and political theory were drawn into its ambit, foreclosing on the possibility of thinking outside of its logic. From this logic flows its use of sources such as Carl Schmitt, its interpretation of violence, and its assessment of the contradictions of antifascism. There is an extensive discussion of the phenomenology of civil war, characterised by limitless violence and novel forms of conflict. The review considers critically the book’s periodisation and the tension it creates between the identification of geopolitical historical processes and those of an apparently transhistorical character.