Tag Archive: Europe

Jun 16 2017

Postwar by Tony Judt

Two things stand out for me about Postwar, by Tony Judt. First, it is a stupendous historical synthesis that aims to tell a mostly political history of all of Europe — East and West, North and South — from 1945 through its publication in 2005. Second, I should have been writing reflections about it as I …

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Feb 26 2014

The Age of Revolution: 1789-1848 by Eric Hobsbawm

The French Revolution is only a secondary theme in this book; the primary theme is the social upheaval and unrest caused by the Industrial Revolution. As a Marxist, Hobsbawm sees this as THE major turning point in history, which unfortunately did not lead to the world-wide revolution that Marxists believed would materialize. Nevertheless, even the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/02/26/the-age-of-revolution-1789-1848-by-eric-hobsbawm/

Jan 16 2014

1848: The Revolutionary Tide in Europe by Peter Stearns

This a subject I keep revisiting, without gaining much illumination. Much about the 1848 revolutions remains mysterious to me. It isn’t clear to me what set off the revolutions in the first place, or how or why they occurred simultaneously and independently throughout the major cities of Europe, or why they failed so decisively when …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/01/16/1848-the-revolutionary-tide-in-europe-by-peter-stearns/

May 13 2012

The Proud Tower by Barbara Tuchman

This was a deliciously written book about the turn of the century, an era little remarked upon by most historians. The era throughout seems to be one of marked class antagonism, although if there is a theme to this book, it is that the oppressed and toiling masses are no wiser or more virtuous than …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2012/05/13/the-proud-tower-by-barbara-tuchman/

Feb 20 2012

Napoleon by Frank McLynn

This is the best and most balanced biography of Napoleon I have read so far. It contains much excellent scholarship and critical commentary; however, it also contains a lot of amateur Freudian analysis that is pure rubbish. While I am neither a warmonger nor an imperialist, I find it hard to read a biography of …

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Jan 05 2012

The Reformation by Diarmaid McCulloch

The first time I read this book I didn’t think much of it, but on rereading it I found it a rich source of information, analysis, and commentary. If there is a single theme throughout this history, it is the way in which a passion for God usually leads to a ferocious hatred of anyone …

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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. …

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Jan 11 2009

The Middle Ages by Morris Bishop

This was a marvellous book, a concise introduction to a vast subject. There are many fascinating aspects to this period, all of which receive their due in this work. Yet I have to say that overall the Middle Ages were a low point in the history of Western Civilization, and I think the tendency to …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2009/01/11/the-middle-ages-by-morris-bishop/

Dec 15 2008

Premature Evaluation: In Europe

Less than 10 percent of the way into the book (to be fair, my edition weighs in at just under 900 pages), I’m liking In Europe: Travels Through the Twentieth Century by Geert Mak a great deal, and looking forward to the rest. In 1999, Mak was commissioned by a Dutch newspaper to travel around …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2008/12/15/premature-evaluation-in-europe/

Apr 09 2008

Napoleon Bonaparte by Alan Schom

This is a well written and well researched book, but it is the most anti-Napoleon book I have ever read. The author gives the devil his due, acknowledging Napoleon’s outstanding abilities as a battlefield commander, but other than that, he has nothing nice to say about the great man. And he takes the peculiar position …

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