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Europe: The Struggle for Supremacy, from 1453 to the Present Hardcover – April 30, 2013
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Brilliantly successful .Simms has the breadth of knowledge and clarity of vision to make his case compelling. His book is also immensely entertaining as well as instructive. There are few pages not enlivened by sharp insight, telling vignette or memorable turn of phrase. In short, this is a great book and everyone interested in European history will want to read it.”
The Washington Times
[A] sweeping, intelligent and enormously ambitious book.”
Paul Kennedy, J. Richardson Dilworth Professor of History, Yale University, and author of The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers
Europe is a superb, sure-footed analysis of how this center of world civilization, technology, and warfare evolved since the fall of Constantinople in 1453. It is unabashedly political history, and the better for being so. Simms's acumen and sharp opinions are a joy to read. This book will be appreciated both by the general reader and by history teachers everywhere.”
Timothy Snyder, author of Bloodlands
World history is German history, and German history is world history.
This is the powerful case made by this gifted historian of Europe, whose expansive erudition revives the proud tradition of the history of geopolitics, and whose immanent moral sensibility reminds us that human choices made in Berlin (and London) today about the future of Europe might be decisive for the future of the world.”
Norman Davies, St. Antony's College, Oxford and Jagiellonian University, Krakow
European history comes in many guises, but Brendan Simms's strategic and geopolitical approach provides a strong and lucid framework within which everything else fits into place. His emphasis on the centrality of Germany offsets more western-orientated accounts while also giving due prominence to Eastern Europe. Covering the whole of the modern period, this book is more than an excellent introduction; it's a major interpretational achievement.”
Europe is a stimulating, impressive history that starts with the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453 and extends to the present day .An excellent read and its insights into the grand themes of European history are penetrating and lucidly argued.”
"Brendan Simms is a historian of unusual range and ability.... His new book is nothing less than a history of Europe over the past 550 years.... Writing such a book is a colossally demanding task the sort of challenge most sane historians would baulk at, unless they had a very clear idea of what they wanted to say. Luckily, knowing what he wants to say is one of Simms's strengths. For this book is driven by two great master-ideas, and there is hardly a page in it where their presence is not felt. So, no matter how dense the details may be of kings, wars, treaties and governments, the reader always has the exhilarating sense of moving swiftly onwards.... Like all truly powerful and original works, this is a book worth disagreeing with. But above all it is a book worth reading."
The New Statesman
"[An] unrepentantly old-fashioned, lively and erudite history of Europe since 1453.... Ambitious in scope... Simms knows what he is talking about."
The Weekly Standard
"Sweeping and provocative."
Wall Street Journal
Prodigious .If postmodern scholarship has Ranke spinning in his grave, Mr. Simms's book will give his weary soul some rest . This is the history of Richelieu, Metternich and Kissinger, not of Luther, Newton and Beethoven. Such a summary may sound arid, but Europe is anything but. In fact, it draws the reader forward with its grand epic of shifting alliances, clashing armies and ambitious statecraft. Simms is a skilled writer with a rare gift for compressed analysis. His focus on the military and diplomatic arc of European history lends his book a strong narrative line and thematic coherence. Patterns emerge that might have remained buried in a more various survey.”
Economist, Favorite Book of the Year
An original take on Europe's history that shows that German power was a concern long before the country formally came into being in the late 19th century, and perhaps as far back as the mid-1400s. A compelling and provocative thesis that has lessons for politicians today.”
Brendan Simms's new history [is] especially timely. He has, in effect, dropped a big stone into the European pond and stood back to watch the ripples spread . It is a compelling and provocative thesis . This is sweeping history, told with verve and panache, and it is all the more refreshing for that.”
About the Author
- Publisher : Basic Books; 1st edition (April 30, 2013)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 720 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0465013333
- ISBN-13 : 978-0465013333
- Item Weight : 2.22 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.5 x 2.25 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #170,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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But, man! Heed this warning! I can't imagine too many people enjoying this book unless they already have a firm foundation in European History to begin with. This is a study of the diplomatic history between European states, and if you have no foundational knowledge of European history, you'll probably find yourself lost in a tangle of wars and alliances that make no sense. This is NOT a book for beginners! If you need a great book on European History that's as big as a cinder block like this one, but more fun to read, then look at books by Norman Davies or Jacques Barzun.
However, if you do know your history and are interested in the nuances of political and diplomatic developments in Europe over the past 550 years, then Brendan Simms' book is magnificent in filling in a lot of gaps. It's a great learning tool. You can read it cover-to-cover for a sweeping historical panorama and connect-the-dots of European history. Or, you can pick it up and read chapters about eras you want to learn more about and neglect the rest, if you so choose.
It's not a page-turner but it is a majestic work of diplomatic history. I will admit that I enjoy the flesh-and-blood stories that make historical figures come to life. The cerebral historian may find my preference a bit camp and low brow. If you are one of these people, you can rest assured that there's absolutely nothing on the love life of any monarch in this book. Simms can write about war after war after war with as much ease as I sip my coffee. The reader will certainly learn all the diplomatic causes and effects of those wars--but next to nil of the human suffering.
This is a book that I needed to read so that I could fill in all those millions of little gaps in my knowledge of European history. It helped immensely.
Simms touches on all of the principal players and all of the key events though some are better analyzed than others. He focuses on the primary wars and treaties then scurries to get to the next big conflagration. In the process he is forced to limit study to the post-war eras that each treaty ushered in. But he presents his material in a way that is gripping and leaves the reader to want more. Thus the most important treaties such as Westphalia (1648), Vienna (1815), Versailles (1919), and Potsdam (1945) receive more attention than Utrecht (1713) or Paris (1763 and 1783). Simms does this to keep his book in a managable single volume.
College history instructors will want to consider this book when setting up curriculuum on general European history. The book is a good introduction. Simms is a solid writer who does not belabor his points yet is critical of the events that lead to the decisions that were made. Each generation had to discover itself to understand its challenges and subsequent responses. This continues today. Angela Merkel and Charles V share certain commonalities whether they want to or not. Each has had the opportunity to lead the most powerful polity in central Europe. The primary difference being that the Germany of 2013 is less likely to be a dominant military threat.
Students of history should appreciate this book for the sheer vastness of its contents. Covering over 500 years of complex history is difficult enough, but to do it in a readable and engrossing fashion is a fine accomplishment. Simms is ready to take his place amongst the leading Euroean scholars of his era.
For me the only reservation's are that I felt the first two hundred years were given a shorter shrift than I would have preferred. My second criticism was that the Thirty Years War was dismissed as a war between Catholics and Protestants, when the activities of France and Sweden during that war fit so well with the balance of power theme of the book.
This is a fine book and I recommend it to any one with an interest in European history, particularly, military history.