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Shaping History: Ordinary People in European Politics, 1500-1700 Hardcover – July 31, 1998
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Most popular recent history books attempt to point to a specific time or place when the West pulled ahead of the Rest. And they usually attempt to "discover" a particular catalyst that rendered that point in time a Major Historical Divergence. But Western history, properly understood, unfolded as an ongoing political process, with progress occasionally flooding forward and then ebbing backward in recurring patterns of change. The author charts these historical patterns throughout the two centuries he concentrates on--the period that witnessed the end of the Renaissance, the turmoil of the Protestant Reformation, and the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution. He desribes where, when and how the ordinary people of this period broke down their political and religious leaders' exclusive claims to authority and thereby opened the door for economic and political freedom. It is a refreshing and exciting account of how the Davids slew the Goliaths.
It is notable that progress was never widespread, but occurred briefly, if at all, in only a few locales. This understanding of how history was shaped has been applied to world history in ...Read more ›