Apr 12 2010

A History of Europe by J.M. Roberts

This is a big book, but not quite big enough to adequately cover 3000 years of history. Ancient Greece is covered in twenty pages, the Roman Empire in forty. However, the later chapters on the hegemonic years of Europe, when Europe was the center of power, culture, and civilization in the world, are quite interesting. 1914 was the end of this hegemony, not just in the eyes of the world but in the eyes of Europeans themselves, and 1945 relegated Europe to second class status in the competition between superpowers. This book was written before 2001; with a remarkable lack of foresight and acumen, the author acknowledges that in the aftermath of the Cold War some on the West are coming to see radical Islam as the new emerging threat, then he proceeds to dismiss the radical Islamic threat as nothing but an irrational bogey. History frequently proves historians wrong. But this was a good single-volume European history, although not quite as good as the Norman Davies book.

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