The First World War occurred between 1914 and 1918 leaving behind far-reaching socio-political and economic consequences. A lot of books have been written on WWI and its impacts. The majority of them focuses on nations in North America and Europe. However, little has been written about other continents that were equally affected by the war. That is why Albert’s comprehensive book is of considerable significance as it explains how the war affected the economy of South America, which has largely been neglected by other authors (Szmrecsányi 1). Albert also shares the same opinion in the introduction where he says that his book “offers insights to the course of prewar growth as well as the significance of the numerous changes caused by the war” (Albert 3). This paper analyses the theme, tone, and writing style in Albert’s book.
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Albert’s main theme is the impacts of World War I on the economy of South America. Throughout the book, he defines and analyses the intensity and scope of the economic transformations that South America experienced as a result of the war. According to the author, “Brazil, Peru, Argentina and Chile were heavily dependent on foreign capital, imports, shipping and insurance, as well as access to the export market as the collapse of the world economy created problems and opportunities for these countries”(Albert 2). It shows the extent at which the war affected these economies. The author maintains a formal and optimistic tone throughout the book. His optimism is seen in description of Argentina: “All is modern and new; all belongs to the prosperous present and betokens a still more prosperous future” (Albert 12). Regarding the writing style, Albert uses clear but long sentences throughout the book. He also uses a third person narration to emphasize his formal tone.
Albert presents his argument in a 398 page book, which consists of general introduction, body divided into seven chapters, and bibliography. The book contains a substantial amount of information, which is of superior quality as evidenced by the use of more than one hundred statistical tables showing how vast the interpretations of Albert’s findings were, and wide reference to other authors’ works. It is vital to note that the bibliography covers eighteen pages, a further indication of the extensiveness of Albert’s works.
It is also worth noting the general structure of the chapters in the book. For instance, Chapters 1, 3, 4 5 and 6 share an introduction, a considerable analysis of the circumstances in each country, and a conclusion. However, chapters 2 and 7 deviate from this pattern by focusing on the initial and long-term impacts of World War I on the economies of South America. These two chapters also have comparatively fewer statistical tables than the rest of the chapters.
According to Albert, the political climate was tensed during the First World War. It is seen when he attributes the unfavorable economic environment in Latin America at the beginning of the war to the “growing political unrest in Europe” (Albert 38). Despite the extreme impacts of the war on America and other parts of the world, Albert envisions America with improved economy and peace. In conclusion, this book has vast and valuable information that everyone should read to have a better understanding of American history. In addition, it should be a key reference piece for others who would want to research on a similar or related topic in the future.
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