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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
I am writing this review to call this book (and its companion, The Penguin Atlas of Modern History by the same author) to the attention of all the teachers and students of Advanced Placement Modern European History. Its conciseness, the entertaining nature of its narrative, and the lucidity of its well-conceived maps make it a wonderful supplement for whatever textbook you use for teaching and learning this subject matter. It can be used effectively throughout the year to make the bewildering detail of the successive epochs of European development more understandable by its clear pinpointing of the strategic objectives the various European states were aiming at. Its discussions are also so compact that they make excellent reviews before tests -- and before the big exam at the end of the year, especially. I can't recommend another work available in this field more highly. Criticism of the military and political emphases of McEvedy's narrative seem beside the point as these were instrumental in acquiring wealth and were, whether we like it or not, the basis of policy decisions for all European rulers. The introduction to this volume is particularly valuable as it challenges the universally accepted notion that Scientific and Industrial Revolutions occurred within an encapsulated time periods as a result of immediate causative factors. Here, McEvedy clearly states that the advantages European states enjoyed were not military, but cultural and administrative. These advantages were accumulated gradually. McEvedy's military/political emphasis is merely the result of his recognition that the acquisition of financial power is the objective of the modern state and that history is the resulting record of the means that shaped these ends. Lastly, one reason I find this work so useful because it is written by a British author with all the advantages that perspective entails for a view of Eurocentric history. Use this work for your APMEH courses!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
This series is quite good for the casual history fan, focusing on Europe. But even European countries interacted a bit more broadly by this period. It cuts off at Southern Scandinavia and at the other end North Africa. 1848 to 1980.

For WWII you can find better maps elsewhere, but I found it sufficient for WWI. Also for the period between wars.

The Napoleonic age is in the previous volume.

In pocket size, only the German origin books by Kinder, Vol II of them out of print, offer similar portability:
The Penguin Atlas of World History - Volume II - From the French Revolution to the Prsent (Paperback)
~ Hermann Kinder and Werner Hilgemann (Author)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
I would agree with other reviewers that this is a good introductory reference work for someone reviewing modern European history. I suppose in this regard, you get what you need (I remember using this in an introductory undergraduate international relations course). However, I would use this work with caution, especially the written notes. The author was an amateur historian from Britain, and the narrative reads as such. Again, if you're looking for a quick introduction, no problem, but there are numerous errors and little biases that come off as odd: Bulgarians aren't in fact "Bulgars", Mussolini didn't actually make the trains run on time, the Polish Soviet War was a little more important than "faintly absurd", etc. The treatment of Germany is also a bit odd: Prussia, the Second German Empire, Weimar Germany, and the Third Reich all share the same shading (ie, the only shaded countries on an otherwise colorless map). Should we think of them as the same thing then (the EU gets the same coloring, hint hint!)?

One reviewer noted (favorably) that these maps focus on political and military events. I look at it a little less favorably. Political and military events clearly do shape much of what else comes from society, but the result on this particular book is that out of 100 pages in total, a good 20 pages are devoted to the Second World War and almost another 20 to the First. Events in the early 19th century and between 1945 and 1989 are rushed through in about a page each (the title mentions "Europe Since 1815", but you don't even get a map until 1848). Ultimately, the treatment of European history from 1815 to 2000 is uneven.

So again, good as a beginner's introduction and a bird's eye view of history from space, but I would second the recommendation of one reviewer that the Werner/Hilgemann altases are far better for a pocket-sized reference, with the note that they are in print again.
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on January 9, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Great time line and easy to read or look up some special event. Small in size, but very thorough content. Good for anyone who enjoys WWI and WWII history, especially.
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on October 22, 2014
Format: Paperback
good reference
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This series of books are simply the best little books I have ever found. I have had earlier editions of all these books and I have the new ones as well. I reread them from time to time because they are so rich with information. And history is really, really filled with details that one can forget.
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