Governing the World: The History of an Idea, 1815 to the Present by Mark Mazower | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Governing the World: The History of an Idea, 1815 to the Present

Governing the World: The History of an Idea, 1815 to the Present

by Mark Mazower
     
 

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A majestic narrative reckoning with the forces that have shaped the nature and destiny of the world’s governing institutions

The story of global cooperation is a tale of dreamers goading us to find common cause in remedying humanity’s worst problems. But international institutions are also tools for the powers that be to advance their own

Overview

A majestic narrative reckoning with the forces that have shaped the nature and destiny of the world’s governing institutions

The story of global cooperation is a tale of dreamers goading us to find common cause in remedying humanity’s worst problems. But international institutions are also tools for the powers that be to advance their own interests. Mark Mazower’s Governing the World tells the epic, two-hundred-year story of that inevitable tension—the unstable and often surprising alchemy between ideas and power. From the rubble of the Napoleonic empire in the nineteenth century through the birth of the League of Nations and the United Nations in the twentieth century to the dominance of global finance at the turn of the millennium, Mazower masterfully explores the current era of international life as Western dominance wanes and a new global balance of powers emerges.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A Financial Times Best Politics Book of 2012

“A splendid account…highly compelling.”—The Wall Street Journal

“Impressive…a significant contribution to historical scholarship… Simply for giving us this lucid account, Mazower deserves our gratitude. But Governing the World is also an intriguing read because of the strong argument he places within it: that it may be that this grand idea, with all its variants, is coming to an end.”—Paul Kennedy, Financial Times

“Fascinating…A well-articulated, meticulously supported study.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Mark Mazower has strengthened his claim to be the preeminent historian of a generation…On rare occasions, a work of history emerges that not only fundamentally refashions our understanding of the past, it enables us to reassess the present and, with luck, influence our future. I advise everyone who is concerned about our precarious situation to learn from and absorb Mazower’s remarkable achievement.”—Misha Glenny

“A dramatic, novel account of ideas and institutions in collision with hard realities. Indispensable also for its full and subtle account of American policies since 1917, always with a fine touch for the hitherto neglected person or little noticed moment that illuminates historic processes. Profound, relevant, and morally instructive—and a pleasure to read.”—Fritz Stern

Library Journal
Director of the Center for International History at Columbia University, award-winning author Mazower seems good and ready to discuss world government from the post-Napoleonic era forward. Go for it, history fans.
Kirkus Reviews
Mazower (History/Columbia Univ. Hitler's Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe, 2008, etc.) explores the evolution of internationalism. The idea is essentially a Western creation, originating from the "Concert of Europe" in 1815 by the great powers in the wake of Napoleon's defeat, and marking an important effort to keep sovereigns in check and create a more just "brotherhood" of nations. While the "Big Four" nations (Austria, Russia, Britain and Prussia) were more interested in policing revolutionary insurrections and restoring the principles of monarchy, they still recognized that there was too much at stake not to work together at "fundamental rules of the game." Avoiding lawlessness and anarchy was the impulse, and many leaders sought to embrace the promotion of a law of nations and universal peace. Mazower considers some fascinating mid-19th-century currents flowing from the international groundswell--e.g., in futuristic literature (foreshadowing H.G. Wells), the peace movement, free trade, Giuseppe Mazzini's influential notion of nationalism, communism, the founding of the Red Cross, the arbitration movement and the hope that science could develop universal humanitarian standards. After tracing the early strands of internationalism, Mazower moves into the modern's era complex convergence of political and economic factors in forging what Mikhail Gorbachev called a "new world order." The peacetime League of Nations, despite its failures, would "marry the democratic idea of a society of nations with the reality of Great Power hegemony." Finally, Mazower brings us to the present, as a European union has been achieved, but has been driven by a "bureaucratic elite" with little sense of "principles of social solidarity and human dignity," except perhaps by noted philanthropists. A well-articulated, meticulously supported study.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143123941
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/27/2013
Pages:
496
Sales rank:
1,103,912
Product dimensions:
8.20(w) x 5.40(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Fritz Stern
A prodigious work: a master historian's reconstruction of how individuals and nations since 1815 have sought to promote national interests in ever more complicated international settings. A dramatic, novel account of ideas and institutions in collision with hard realities. Indispensable also for its full and subtle account of American policies since 1917, always with a fine touch for the hitherto neglected person or little noticed moment that illuminates historic processes. Profound, relevant, and morally instructive—and a pleasure to read.
—Fritz Stern
Ian Buruma
Governing Europe, and then the whole world, for the greater good of mankind, an idea spanning almost two centuries, at once noble and megalomaniacal, visionary and delusional, and ultimately doomed to failure: this idea has found its perfect chronicler in Mark Mazower, whose perceptions are cosmopolitan, humane, learned, and properly skeptical. What is more, his history is written in clear, elegant prose. Essential reading not just for historians, but anyone interested in the troubled world we live in.
—Ian Buruma
From the Publisher
A Financial Times Best Politics Book of 2012

“A splendid account…highly compelling.”—The Wall Street Journal

“Impressive…a significant contribution to historical scholarship… Simply for giving us this lucid account, Mazower deserves our gratitude. But Governing the World is also an intriguing read because of the strong argument he places within it: that it may be that this grand idea, with all its variants, is coming to an end.”—Paul Kennedy, Financial Times

“Fascinating…A well-articulated, meticulously supported study.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Mark Mazower has strengthened his claim to be the preeminent historian of a generation…On rare occasions, a work of history emerges that not only fundamentally refashions our understanding of the past, it enables us to reassess the present and, with luck, influence our future. I advise everyone who is concerned about our precarious situation to learn from and absorb Mazower’s remarkable achievement.”—Misha Glenny

“A dramatic, novel account of ideas and institutions in collision with hard realities. Indispensable also for its full and subtle account of American policies since 1917, always with a fine touch for the hitherto neglected person or little noticed moment that illuminates historic processes. Profound, relevant, and morally instructive—and a pleasure to read.”—Fritz Stern

Misha Glenny
Mark Mazower has strengthened his claim to be the preeminent historian of a generation. Combining breathtaking originality with meticulous and gloriously eclectic research, he offers the most convincing explanation yet articulated for the exaggerated, even hysterical, expectations of the 1990s and the subsequent collapse of optimism after the Millennium now translated into a fear that grips large parts of the Western world. On rare occasions, a work of history emerges that not only fundamentally refashions our understanding of the past, it enables us to reassess the present and, with luck, influence our future. I advise everyone who is concerned about our precarious situation to learn from and absorb Mazower's remarkable achievement.
—Misha Glenny
Alan Brinkley
The idea of global government has entranced the world for centuries. Mark Mazower's brilliant book shows how much effort has gone into this idea—and how futile it has mostly been in an era of individualism and growing divisiveness.
—Alan Brinkley

Meet the Author

Mark Mazower is the Ira D. Wallach Professor of History at Columbia University. He is the author of Hitler’s Empire and The Balkans: A Short History, winner of the Wolfson Prize for History, among other books. He lives in New York City.

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