Europe: A Historyby Norman Davies, N. Davies
Pub. Date: 01/28/1998
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Here is a masterpiece of historical narrative that stretches from the Ice Age to the Atomic Age, as it tells the story of Europe, East and West. Norman Davies captures it all-the rise and fall of Rome, the sweeping invasions of Alaric and Atilla, the Norman Conquests, the Papal struggles for power, the Renaissance and the Reformation, the French Revolution and the… See more details below
Here is a masterpiece of historical narrative that stretches from the Ice Age to the Atomic Age, as it tells the story of Europe, East and West. Norman Davies captures it all-the rise and fall of Rome, the sweeping invasions of Alaric and Atilla, the Norman Conquests, the Papal struggles for power, the Renaissance and the Reformation, the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, Europe's rise to become the powerhouse of the world, and its eclipse in our own century, following two devastating World Wars. This is the first major history of Europe to give equal weight to both East and West, and it shines light on fascinating minority communities, from heretics and lepers to Gypsies, Jews, and Muslims. It also takes an innovative approach, combining traditional narrative with unique features that help bring history alive: 299 time capsules scattered through the narrative capture telling aspects of an era. 12 -snapshots offer a panoramic look at all of Europe at a particular moment in history. Full coverage of Eastern Europe—100 maps and diagrams, 72 black-and-white plates.All told, Davies’'s Europe represents one of the most important and illuminating histories to be published in recent years.
Table of Contents
|Key Concept Chart|
|Ch. I||The Burdens of History: Nuclear Weapons, the Cold War, and Massive Defense Spending||3|
|I.1||The Nuclear FAQ|
|I.2||The Man Behind the Bomb||9|
|I.3||How Soviet Physicists Caught Up||18|
|I.4||Four Trillion Dollars and Counting||25|
|I.5||Midnight Never Came||37|
|Ch. II||The Proliferation Problem: Will "They" Get the Bomb?||53|
|II.1||The Myth of the Islamic Bomb||56|
|II.2||Engineer for Hire||64|
|II.3||Black-Market Bombs and Fissile Flim-Flam||68|
|II.4||Potatoes Were Guarded Better||76|
|II.5||Non-Proliferation Regime: Jury-Rigged but Working||79|
|Ch. III||Legacies of Insecurity: Human Costs, Societal Impacts, and Environmental Disasters||89|
|III.1||Victims of the Arms Race||92|
|III.2||Nothing Clean about Cleanup||94|
|III.3||Who the Hell Will Insure Us?||98|
|III.5||Chernobyl: The Decade of Despair||105|
|III.6||Nuclear Language and How I Learned to Pat the Bomb||114|
|Ch. IV||From Foe to Friends? The Soviet Successor States||125|
|IV.1||Russia Will Turn Inward||128|
|IV.2||Baltic Pride, Russian Tears||132|
|IV.3||Kazakhstan Finds Its Own Way||139|
|IV.4||Power Play in Central Asia||144|
|IV.5||Armenia's Energy Choice||148|
|Ch. V||Promoting Global Cooperation: Multilateral Peacekeeping and Sanctions||159|
|V.1||Phantom Forces, Diminished Dreams||162|
|V.2||We Are Dying of Your Protection||167|
|V.3||A Stronger U.N. Strengthens America||173|
|V.4||Misreading the Public on Peacekeeping||180|
|V.5||On Sanctions, Think Small||183|
|V.6||Who Suffers from Sanctions?||188|
|Ch. VI||Arms and Security at Millennium's End||193|
|VI.1||More Security for Less Money||196|
|VI.2||A Chinese View on Nuclear Disarmament||202|
|VI.3||World Court Says Mostly No to Nuclear Weapons||205|
|VI.4||The Revolt Against Nuclear Weapons||208|
|VI.5||Comprehensive Test Ban Only a Beginning||211|
|VI.6||Four Steps to Zero||215|
|Ch. VII||The Emergence of Global Citizenship||223|
|VII.1||Scientists as Public Educators: 1945-50||226|
|VII.2||The Global Tide||230|
|VII.3||A Movement Is Born||238|
|VII.4||The Revolutions of 1989||243|
|VII.6||Remember Your Humanity||253|
|About the Contributors||273|
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >
I tried to read this monstrocity three (3) times to no avail. The author merely comments on history but never attempts to teach it in this book. It is very incoherent and sketchy. I am not a learned historian and need something to connect the dots. This book is the largest commentary I have ever seen. It is definitely not a history book.
A remarkably thorough and inclusive explanation of european dynamics. The weight of the book is a bit intimidating at first, but the read is easy and it guides you effortlessly through its richly layered perspectives.
The most in depth overview of european history i have ever read.
For quite an ambitious project, the author manages to hit the high and low points, and adds enlightening critiques of historical prejudices. There are many maps, charts, and visual goodies to supplement the text. I can't think of a better general survey to begin on European History, aside from the antiquated and biased Chicago list.
I would have to say I found it quite the accomplishment that I finished this tome. I would recommend it for those who want a serious overview of European history and to not take this on some relaxing beach vacation--unless you need an anchor. The reason I'm torn--I have something good to say and bad. The good is I learned a lot, and not just in one area, but in all like political, economical, folklore, etc. and I really enjoyed the side notes of interesting tidbits...hats off to someone who mentions a brief history about captain condom. However, sometimes I felt there was too much detail in the slower parts and not enough in the exciting parts. I'm the better for reading it, but it was work.
The History of Europe I read by Norman Davis is now one of my favorite books I have ever read. The language in it was superb. A beautifully written book, parts about Eastern Europe, Poland, the Byzantine Empire, the Napoleonic Wars, the World Wars, Russia, and the Cold War were the most enlightening for me personally. Some of the material was review, but so much was new and fascinating for me. I enjoyed the fact that this was a book written by an Englishman, an Oxford historian. It was refreshing to get European history from a European¿s point of view, as apposed to the more American-centric education I received, where World Wars seemed to start with the entry of US forces. While the author¿s typical English cynicism and tendency for understatement were characteristically represented throughout the book, I enjoyed the unbiased and almost detached manner that the stories were told in. It really gave me a solid history of Europe from Stone Age to the modern age in one book. I tell a lot of people about it all the time because it was so well written and enjoyable to read.
Davies has done an admirable job in this book. Perhaps one can criticize him for glossing over some points or downplaying some of Europe's great tragedies while highlighting others. On this score, I would instead commend Davies. The history of Europe is long and complex, and, to a certain extent, the very idea of history only emerges late in the story after the Middle Ages. As a political philosophy student, I might disagree with Davies on certain points, but the merit of this book is that it allows for debate. Davies points to incidents that need further consideration. When it comes to the sensitive topics of the twentieth century, Davies himself notes that we are probably too close to events to take an objective look at them. But, in the end, he presents us with aspects of Europe's history that have been too quickly forgotten. Like a good historian, he points us to facts we might otherwise have missed. For this, he deserves thanks.
Davies sets out to write a comprehensive history of the contintent and its culture-- first warning us that it will in fact fail, and lambasting all those who have defined Europe narrowly, with their different takes on European history. The panoramic picture Davies presents is patchy. He hits most of the high points but prefers to linger longer on those points less well covered in our basic educations, and spend a good deal of time linking events in Western and Eastern Europe. He inserts mentions of well-known atrocities into the text, but tends to linger longer over those less-well-covered in the schools. Sidebars on various subjects, where his commentary is a bit more opinionated, are scattered throughout the text. Sometimes he is very pointed in his comments, other times, he is understated to the point of oversubtlety. For instance, one can compare his comments on the bombing of German cities and on the Allies lack of interest in Auschwitz film footage and the pleas of Jewish leaders to have bombing strategically done to stop the moving of the Jews to camps-- and see a very pointed criticism... but it is too subtle for some. Davies seems to be assuming that anyone who will struggle through a 1200-plus page book has already some smattering of history and is aware of some key events. More problematic is his blythe assumption that American readers will have a notion of the geography of the less-well-known cities of Europe-- Americans should read this with a good geographic and possibly historical atlas to hand. Davies' biases are evident, also. His academic field of study is Poland, and as a result, Poland-Lithuania pops up a lot. But the German states do also. Hardcore British history fans will be disappointed, the history of the island is featured prominently only when it interacts with other nations/powers. Davies is also an anti-Muscovite, and he takes a number of shots at them. For proud Protestants, this will also be a disappointment, as Davies does not detail all the sins of the Roman Church but does cover in detail the wars and persecutions of the Lutheran-Calvinist-Catholic conflicts of the Reformation. There is also scant treatment of the horrors of colonialism -- since, to be fair, they happened outside of Europe! There is, however, a great deal of condemnation of nationalist history. Minorities get somewhat short shrift (blacks, Jews, gypsies, moriscos, etc.). What Davies does do, for those who like their history varied and are willing to be openminded in dealing with their own, their authors' and their educations' biases, is a widespread panorama of European history, connecting topics that are usually hermetically divided, such as the Hundred-years-war between France and England and the beginning of the Ottoman invasions in the East. It is readable, witty, and interesting.
I have a fact quibble: Page 335, Davies gives three facts about the Battle of Hastings. 1) It was Sept. 28, 1066; 2) Harold's Saxons were waiting for William after William and his forces landed; and 3) Harold died on Sept. 28 with an arrow in the eye. Let me correct each, one at a time: 1) The Battle of Hastings was on Oct. 14, 1066. Sept. 28 was the date William and his force landed. At the time, Harold had finished beating the Norwegians at Stamford Bridge, in the north. 2) William found no one at Hastings -- Harold was on his way down from Yorkshire after the battle, so William and his forces had time to build a good camp and wait. 3) Harold died on Oct. 14, and it's possible that he died with an arrow through the eye -- that info comes from the Bayeux Tapestry, which itself is ambiguous. Davies's book, generally, is OK. The best stuff is the boxed-in snapshots of history, worth the cover price. But the factual issues (is he writing from memory?) and the lack of depth make this a frustrating read.
I will admit I did enjoy this book.I am a huge history fan.Although it seems unclear why the author spent so much time covering all of the unclear pretenses of the past,he did a fairly decent job.I wish the book would have spent more time in the 1600-present era,which I consider to be the most interesting period in time.But I do not believe everything in this book can be considered true.Hopefully a great author will come along and rewrite European History on an epic level like this book,but only better.