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The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness, and Fall 1477-1806 (Oxford History of Modern Europe) Paperback – September 3, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0198207344 ISBN-10: 0198207344

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The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness, and Fall 1477-1806 (Oxford History of Modern Europe) + The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age + A Worldly Art: The Dutch Republic, 1585-1718
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford History of Modern Europe
  • Paperback: 1280 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (September 3, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198207344
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198207344
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #624,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Jonathan Israel's 1,231-page blockbuster... offers a comprehensive, integrated account of the northern part of the Netherlands over almost 350 years...[it] represents the fruit of 12 years of research, contemplation and writing, and brims over with interesting detail."--The New York Times Book Review

"Those with a serious interest in the history of the Netherlands will not only have to read this book, they will enjoy it."--Sixteenth Century Journal

"Israel performs the great service of charting a path through this literature and presents a coherent and comprehensive picture of the Dutch comprehensive in scope and yet so clearly and carefully written that it could serve as a textbook for graduate history courses. Because it is so thoroughly researched and up-to-date, it is also the kind of indispensable handbook that deserves a place on every early modernist's bookshelf."--American Historical Review

About the Author

Jonathan Israel is Professor of Dutch Histories and Institutions at the University of London.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 96 people found the following review helpful By R Boast/D Edmunds on February 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
Professor Israel's book is the first volume in what is clearly intended to be a new series of definitive texts, Oxford University Press's History of Early Modern Europe. The book is certainly superbly produced (albeit a bit short of maps), and is packed with information on a fascinating subject. No doubt the Dutch achievement in the seventeenth century was amazing - after rebelling from Spain the Dutch turned themselves into a world power,became the freest and most advanced society in Europe (although Dutch freedom had its limits, as Professor Israel makes clear) and produced a galaxy of stunning artists - Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals etc. All this based on nothing but hard work and daring, and founded on a country that Dutchmen made themselves - "God made the world, but the Dutch made Holland", as they say. So a great subject, a magnificent looking book, and a first rate scholar who really knows his stuff and who has published a number of excellent books. And yet, it doesn't quite get there...I don't agree with those who say that this book is in the same league as Simon Schama's. I am a historian, but found the book very hard going. I think one problem was the author's obsessive focus on the internal rivalries of the Dutch provinces and towns. By the time the states of Friesland and the States of Zeeland and the States of Holland and the States-General had all fallen out with themselves yet again for the umpteenth time my eyes were starting to glaze over...I'm sure it's very important to understanding Dutch history but I felt the material on internal rivalries and jealousies needed to be shortened and the issues clarified for the non-specialist.Read more ›
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a frustrating book to review. It is one of the worst-edited books I have read in a long time, yet it contains a wealth of intersting information. It is comprehensive and well-enough explained to interest a lay reader, but it is difficult to read beyond what is necessary given the dryness of the subject matter. First, the good: Israel presents almost a year-by-year discussion of Dutch politics, economics, and demographics. His presentation is highly detailed, generally offering his arguments first, then backing them up with substantial data. Israel has pulled together statistics of population growth, economic activity, and political positions in a wealth of tables. Finally, he defines his terms clearly, then uses them consistently. Now, the bad: This is one of the worst-edited books I can imagine. Israel's excessive use of commas in the most inappropriate places makes reading this work a chore. His meaning is obscured by the incorrect use of punctuation. In short, his editor should [have done a better editing job]. Second, the editing goes downhill toward the end of the book. Whereas the first 2/3 of the text clearly presents the major political events, then follows them with the appropriate economic, social, and demographic consequences, the latter part of the book reverses this presentation. This leaves the reader to infer major political events (like the French invasion of 1792-1794) from the discussion of demographics, economics, or social trends. A consequence of this decline in editing is that the explanation of why the Dutch republic declined is not presented clearly. If the reader pays close attention and has a good grounding in economics, he can understand what must have been going on behind the scenes.Read more ›
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
I am afraid I have to disagree with my fellow readers. Israel's account of the rise and fall of the Dutch Republic is exhaustive and certainly impressive, but it is a difficult read. This book is for only those with a burning interest in the subject and a willingness to tolerate dry, academic prose.
I learned a lot, which was my goal, but not without some, in my judgment, unnecessary frustration. Too often, Israel assumes that the reader has a much deeper knowledge of the subject matter than I believe is warranted. He frequently makes use of terms and refers to historical characters that are not explained until much later in the text. The organization of the chapters within each section does not help. It would have been better, I think, to begin each section with an overview of political events and follow with broader commentary on Dutch society and religious development, for example. This way the reader could put the latter into the context of the former. Israel does this in his section, "The Early Golden Age", but not with "The Later Golden Age." The narrative flow suffers as a result. Someone more expert in Dutch history would not find this a problem, but if this is to be the definitive and most accessible account of the rise and fall of the Dutch Republic, as the professional critic suggests, then it is a serious flaw.
I have a bias towards maps. I think history books should include a lot of them. They help readers place events. This book could use more, but the real problem here is that the maps Oxford's editors did produce for Israel are of poor quality.
In short, this is a book for the serious student of Dutch history and not for those looking for a good, accessible introduction to the subject. Turn to Israel after reading a book that provides such an introduction.
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