I have been reading a book by Dan Simmons; 'Drood'. It is written from the prospective of William Wilkie Collins, a writer of some note during the time of Charles Dickens. These men were not only friends but collaborators on many books, short stories and plays. The book actually deals with their relationship; in particular at a time after Mr Dickens was a victim of a passenger train accident.
Mr Collins books, The Woman in White, The Moonstone, Armadale and No Name are not as well known as Mr Dickens works but are every bit as good. I have ordered The Woman in White, widely accepted as the first mystery novel, from Amazon. Reading novels from the Victorian Era is a challenge but one that pays great dividends to the understanding of a time in history that has always held a fascination for me.
But for all Mr Collins works; one concept that he developed stands out as particularly relevant to the last half of the 21st Century.
Collins predicted the deterrence concept of Mutually Assured Destruction that defined the Cold War nuclear era. Writing at the time of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 he stated, "I begin to believe in only one civilising influence - the discovery one of these days of a destructive agent so terrible that War shall mean annihilation and men's fears will force them to keep the peace."~~Wikkipedia
Writing some 100 years prior to the arms race between The United States and The Soviet Union; Mr Collins penned the premise that defined the arms race and predicted its results. An accomplishment on par with Jules Vern's predictions to be found in his novels.
Recently I read an article that listed college degrees that are presently considered worthless to graduates in the present job market. Over the years having a degree in History Education has been listed. But when reading works, like those of Mr Collins and other writers from years past; I believe that there are clues to our future buried in their pages just waiting to be plucked out and put to use.
I know! I know! A little philosophical and maybe even serendipitous but with this thought in mind maybe it is time we all reread the old classics. There may well be some thing there to be learned and used when needed.