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An investigation of economic characteristics of some major disasters and recoveries of modern times. Four periods are covered in detail: Russian war communism, 1917-1921; the American Confederacy, 1861-1865; Japan, pre- and post-World War II; and Germany, pre- and post-World War II. Emphasis is on the mechanism of collapse, whether the source was technological or organizational, and on what forces promoted or hindered recovery.

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