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The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, Vol. 1 [Paperback]

Fernand Braudel
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 16, 1996 0520203089 978-0520203082 Reprint
The focus of Fernand Braudel's great work is the Mediterranean world in the second half of the sixteenth century, but Braudel ranges back in history to the world of Odysseus and forward to our time, moving out from the Mediterranean area to the New World and other destinations of Mediterranean traders. Braudel's scope embraces the natural world and material life, economics, demography, politics, and diplomacy.

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The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, Vol. 1 + The Mediterranean: And the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II (Volume II)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A brilliant translation. . . . Braudel's metahistorical classic [is] one of the few great histories of recent times." -- The Economist

"Because Braudel's Mediterranean can be read on several levels simultaneously, it has an importance and a range that extend far beyond any one historical category." -- J. H. Elliott, New York Review of Books

"Braudel ranges with ease over the centuries, displaying an extraordinary erudition of all periods in all of Western Europe's major languages." -- J. H. Plumb, New York Times Book Review

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

Product Details

  • Series: Mediterranean & the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip
  • Paperback: 642 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; Reprint edition (July 16, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520203089
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520203082
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How billions in gold bankrupted Spain October 27, 1996
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
In the 1500s, billions in gold and silver poured into Spanish coffers from the new world; yet, a century later Spain was bankrupt. What happened?

Fernand Braudel has woven together a fascinating tour around the Mediterranean of the 1500s, explaining the rise of the Ottoman Empire, how Egyptians made iced drinks, why Algiers became the capital of piracy, how the banking system created the first transcontinental roads, and much more. This book immerses the reader in a new world full of rich details and suprising connections.

Spain? An extravagant Star-Wars size naval fleet built with timbers imported from Scandinavia; nonexistent accounting practices, the personal greed of Spanish nobility helped along by canny bankers in the Netherlands--the wealth poured out as fast as it had come.
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54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An education....... April 6, 2004
By nto62
Format:Paperback
I have been keenly interested in world history for nearly 20 years. I read, on average, 30 non-fiction historical accounts per annum. With rare exception, I have always felt up to the task of both completion and comprehension. Braudel is an entirely different animal. What Braudel has presented in the form of 16th-century Mediterranean history is formidable, innovative, and exhausting.

Braudel's narrative weaves itself through overlays of historical strata that demand as much from the reader as any contemporary written history available. His is not a mere linear schedule of cause and effect, but a finely crafted history of regional parallels which render the methodology as thought provoking as the content.

Fully one-fourth of the book is devoted to economics in such painstaking detail that, while the specialist may revel, the layman may grow foggy, uninterested, and, unfortunately, bored. But, this does not detract from the overall value of Braudel's effort. The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World is a singular achievement in written history which offers the reader a vantage point that I have yet to find elsewhere. 5 stars.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Well Balanced & Detailed Account Of A Fascinating Era. February 23, 2006
Format:Paperback
This book is a very detailed starting point for fans of both the Renaissance & Capitalism. It was originally published in French in 1949. The book has eleven illustrations & fifty four lists of figures & is 643 pages long.It is divided into two huge parts with several chapters & sub chapters in each.

Exs: Part 1, "The Role Of The Environment."
Chapter1-The Peninsulas: Mountains, Plateaux, & Plains.
Chapter2-The Heart Of The Mediterranean: Seas & Coasts.
Chapter3-Boundaries: The Greater Mediterranean.
Chapter4-The Mediterranean As A Physical Unit: Climate & History.
Chapter5-The Mediterranean As A Human Unit: Communications & Cities.
Part2, "Collective Destinies & General Trends."
Chapter1-Economies: The Measures Of The Century.
Chapter2-Economies: Precious Metals, Money, & Prices.
Chapter3-Economies: Trade & Transport.
Chapter4-Trade & Transport: The Sailing Ships Of The Atlantic.

At its heart this is a socio-economic history of the second half of
the sixteenth century Mediterranean world that we owe so much too.
The authors depth & breadth of knowledge can be overwhelming at times, but never dull. The clever inclusion of the often ignored topics like climate and geographic conditions presuasively explained why prosperous Capitalism grew in some regions while others remained stagnant.
Chapter 5-"The Human Unit" was the most informative. Most facets of history are here for the reader to absorb. This is the type of book we all wished we had in school.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the Undisputed Masterpiece July 16, 2007
Format:Paperback
You need to have been an apprentice historian in the mid-sixties to appreciate the impact this book had on Europeanists. I was thirty-one years old in 1967. I had taught history in high school for eight years and picked up a master's in history at NYU, and I was starting my Ph. D. program in history at Yale, concentrating on early modern European history, and within that specialty, on medieval and early modern political theory. (Later, when I taught college, my specialty course was on Machiavelli, More, Erasmus and Guicciardini.)

Braudel had just published the second edition of his masterpiece. The book had been significantly rewritten and was about a third longer than the original edition. But it was available only in French, which I read well but exceedingly slowly. The first edition --but not the second-- had been translated into Spanish, my preferred second language, so I swotted the Spanish first edition for orals. Reading it in a foreign language, it was too much in a limited amount of time to absorb and integrate with what I already knew about the times. I more or less flubbed the Braudel question in my orals. (In contrast, I did a killer job responding to a question about Ernst Kantorowicz's The King's Two Bodies: A Study in Medieval Political Liturgy.)

Later, teaching a winter term course in college, I assigned the by-then-published English translation of Braudel's second edition to my students, giving myself --at long last-- an opportunity to read it in my native tongue. I was floored! The masterful use of maps and graphs to show hitherto unnoticed trends in history, the wealth of illustrative detail, the scope of his view! Of all the masterworks of the first two generations of Annales historians --Bloch and Febvre, Braudel's other works, Le Roy Ladurie, Aries, Duby, etc.-- Mediterranean is still the undisputed masterpiece on early modern European economic and social history.
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