What's Wrong With Modern Times?
By Bryan Caplan
In my youth, I was a huge fan of Paul Johnson‘s Modern Times: The World From the Twenties to the Eighties. His revised edition pleased me less, but I still loved the book. But whenever I mentioned Modern Times to professional historians, they scoffed at its inaccuracies – without actually specifying any.
Now I’m rereading the book, and it still seems excellent. I did spot one mistake in the first three chapters – contrary to Johnson, the Democrats had not been “out of office for fifty-three years” when Wilson was elected. But this seems like a reasonable error rate for a genuine world history – and makes me wonder whether the professional historians’ real complaint is that ambitious, Actonian history shouldn’t be written.
Question: Does anyone know of any other glaring factual errors in Johnson? Please show your work. 🙂