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The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers Paperback – January 15, 1989
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From Publishers Weekly
"Kennedy, a history professor at Yale, here assesses the interaction between economics and strategy over the past five centuries," reported PW , concluding that "the book is a vigorous entry in the debate over the extent to which national wealth should be used for military purposes."
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Inside Flap
About national and international power in the "modern" or Post Renaissance period. Explains how the various powers have risen and fallen over the 5 centuries since the formation of the "new monarchies" in W. Europe.
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Do you know when, in a movie, you realize someone shouldn't be doing this or that? Same thing. You just want him to reconsider because you know it is not going to end well, but in the end you're just in the audience. The author makes you feel like you're in the best movie you've ever seen.
If you like history you should buy this right now.
It covers the period from the 1600s to the late 1980s and it looks at history from the viewpoint of the economic forces that acted on specific nations and determined their destiny. I had never really thought about these things in quite this way but it makes perfect sense.
For some reason it ends in the late 1980s just before the fall of the Soviet Union. The analysis of the economic forces and political rigidity that wrecked the Soviet state is fascinating. He actually says in the book that the outlook for the Soviet Union is bleak. But the actual fall must have surprised him as much as it surprised everybody else. It all happened just like he predicted it would but he did not think that it would happen so fast. I just wonder why he let the story end on the eve of the most important event of the 20th century.
Over and over again, superficial circumstances delude countries about their place in the world; over and over again, the economic facts assert themselves. Brilliantly written, expert yet accessible, this is one of the best histories of any kind I've ever read, and a foundational work if you want to understand how we wound up where we are today.
He begins with the Preindustrial World through to the Twenty-first century. It is remarkable how he uses fifteen centuries to help us understand the present.