32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
A Meta-Survey of Economics and Empire
, August 23, 2008
This review is from: After Tamerlane: The Global History of Empire Since 1405 (Hardcover)
Critics of this work make legitimate points, but miss the point. "After Tamerlane" is intended to be a survey of deeper analyses of empires in various regions. Like Mae "mes2000" says, there is not an overabundance of specific human examples of struggles on the ground. One might want to read this book in conjunction with some of the new Napoleonic War surveys, with the recent biographies of Tamerlane, with "The Pursuit of Glory" or "Liberators," etc. In fact, Cesar Gonzales has provided us with a fairly comprehensive list in his review.
Gonzales legitimately complains that Darwin spends a good deal of time answering a negative - i.e., telling us why the traditional views of European power don't completely explain what happened to world culture post-1750. But Rouco is wrong in saying Darwin never reaches that explanation. Darwin says that the abstraction of financial instruments, combined with globalized trade patterns, led to hyper-militarism. He wants to make sure readers understand that it is not merely the Industrial Revolution, not merely Marx or Weber concepts of capitalism, that brought Euro- and U.S. cultures to this point, and to make this clear, Darwin must first mention the negatives.
This is a dense and subtle book, but it is masterfully written. I kept trying to think of a more straightforward way Darwin might have written this to avoid the problems mae and Cesar have, but I'm not sure that's possible. Darwin is writing a meta-analysis to observe post-Tamerlane civilizational history from the 75,000-foot level, perhaps even the orbital level, so it certainly should not be read on its own, but as a companion piece to more detailed regional historical surveys of empire.
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