- Series: Mediterranean & the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip
- Paperback: 642 pages
- Publisher: University of California Press; 2nd ed. edition (July 16, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0520203089
- ISBN-13: 978-0520203082
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #459,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, Vol. 1 2nd ed. Edition
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"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
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French
Top customer reviews
Volume 1 covers the geography and climate features of the Mediterranean basin in considerable detail, tincluding how geographic features influenced human societies in the premodern age. Described in considerable detail are the varying nature of rural societies in different regions, the nature of rural economic life, trade and the technologies needed for trade, urban life, and demography. Braudel attempts a major, global reconstruction of the nature of the Mediterranean economy and analyses of major dynamics in trade such as the impact of Portugal's opening of the circum-African route to the Indian ocean, the nature of the crucial trade in cereals, and the burgeoning contacts with Northwest Europe. Volume 2 delves deeper into human institutions, including the eclipse of city states by territorial states, the social and economic structures of imperial states, the conflicts between the Hapsburgs and the Ottomans, the nature of warfare, and an extensive political-diplomatic history.
While encyclopedic at times, this book is generally a pleasure to read because of Braudel's skill at balancing broad analysis with telling detail. The level of erudition and knowledge of the many Mediterranean societies and events is remarkable. At times, however, the level of detail tends to overwhelm the major analysis. At times, the reader has to work a bit to extract the major structural features. The latter appear to be population growth in the 16th century, the increasing intensity of economic life and trade, the central role of the Mediterranean economy as the crucial nexus between European demand for Asian products paid for by American precious metals, the eclipse of city states by territorial states, the Hapsburg-Ottoman conflict, the gradual pacification of the Mediterranean as the Hapsburg became exhausted by conflict in Europe while the Ottomans appear to have suffered a similar problem due to conflict with Persia, and migration of the European economic center to Northwest Europe.
An unavoidable drawback of this book is that it was published decades ago and one major structural feature that Braudel couldn't address is now increasingly recognized - the so-called (and misnamed) Little Ice Age that peaked in the 17th century. Coupled with 16th century population growth, this was a major driver of events towards the end of the period Braudel discusses.