Conceived by the British in the First World War as a way of breaking the deadlock on the Western Front, the tank was to become the central components of the Nazi Blitzkreig through Europe in the 1930s. By 1944, however, the tables had turned on Hitler, as the Soviet T34, proving better armoured and more suited to winter warfare, ensured that the Nazis were fatally bogged down in a war on two fronts. Throughout the Cold War, the tank became a symbol of totalitarian oppression - and a focus of opposition to such regimes. Patrick Wright follows the tank's progress through the twentieth century, relating it to philosophy, art, politics and even necromancy to produce a fascinating cultural history.
Patrick Wright's books include The Village that Died for England, of which Michael Hofmann wrote 'I don't think I have read a better book about this country', and A Journey Through Ruins, acclaimed in the Observer as the work of 'a pin-sharp miniaturist who can see the world in a grain of sand'. He presents 'Nightwaves' for BBC Radio 3, and recently wrote and presented 'The River', a popular BBC2 television series about the Thames at the beginning of the 21st century. In 2001 he was co-curator of Tate Britain's exhibition of paintings and drawings of Stanley Spencer. Tank: The Progress of a Monstrous War Machine was published in 2000.
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Warfare & defence