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Showing 1-10 of 70 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 95 reviews
on December 14, 2014
This is the history of Europe that I was not taught at school. I am an Australian and was brought up on British History and a British interpretation of Europe which was incorrect, and leaves us today with a complete lack of understanding of the forces that are shaping modern Europe. I found this book a revelation on understanding Europe and I sincerely regret that I had not read it before travelling to Europe many times over the past 15 years. It is a must for anyone of Anglo Saxon heritage travelling to Europe to really appreciate the nuances of different cultures within modern European countries.

Roger Grace
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on July 25, 2015
The real answers to that fuzzy 'huh?' that come up when reading historical fiction and a character refers to a country or locale that you can't quite place. I make an effort to read the real history behind the fictional, period pieces I'm reading and find that a nice balance. This is a substantial, well researched and documented book, not for the light reader, but it flows well and the writing is lively. I would ask big print, but I probably could not carry it from place to place. Overall, most fascinating!
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on May 13, 2015
I wasn't as blown away by this as I hoped to be. I think I expected a more cohesive story of how European kingdoms, important in their day, were lost to history, because they have no successor nations today. Instead this is episodic, each chapter a disjunct story. Some of these "kingdoms" are little more than chieftains. Much is unknown and only surmised, or imagined. Far too much "what if" or "maybe it could be that" for me.
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on August 25, 2015
The concept of Vanished Kingdoms is interesting and Normal Davies is steeped in knowledge and research. The problem is execution to a degree as the book is not a particularly engaging read and dry at several points that really kill the flow. If I could give 3.5 stars I would and it is worth reading for die hard history oriented people. For the casual reader the different take is not enough to likely engage you.
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on October 31, 2014
Vanished Kingdoms is a compelling account of European countries that no longer exist. In several highly readable and well-researched narratives, Davies exposes fault lines in today's map of the continent and provides needed understanding of such contemporary events as the Scottish referendum and the Russian invasion of parts of Ukraine. As the sage said, those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.
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on April 25, 2014
Very interesting overview of vanished kingdoms from those that consituted transient empires to those that should be better considered as ephemeral. Although the selection is far from being comprehensive, and the choice of vanished kingdoms is debatable, the book offers a fascinating selection of a number of vanished kingdoms that can enrich our understanding of the history in a very readable way.
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on August 1, 2014
As a history buff, I was fascinated by this book and its descriptions of "vanished kingdoms." However, as the book approached the present day (for example in discussing the USSR), I felt the author was trying too hard to make his theories fit. Nonetheless, the peek at some practically mythical kingdoms was entertaining and well-written.
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on May 24, 2016
In classic Norman Davies style, this book inundates the reader with detail to the point of boredom, then touches on some interesting point often enough to keep the reader going.
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on March 23, 2014
To read any of the writings of Norman Davies is to enjoy descriptions so intricate that one might say they "split hairs." How refreshing to read something so carefully and wonderfully done, something you can trust to be true, something that has no hint of haphazard writing, something so informative that it stays with you for a lifetime.
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on July 13, 2014
I originally bought the American edition of this book, but found the typeface choice awful and the maps unreadable. A shame, since the information in the book is fascinating, and is hours of entertainment for me, in addition to being useful in some of my own historical researching.
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