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An Economist Best Book of the Year “Sweeping . . . an ambitious synthesis . . . [Evans] writes with admirable narrative power and possesses a wonderful eye for local color . . . Fascinating.”—Stephen Schuker, The Wall Street Journal From the bestselling author of The Third Reich at War, a masterly account of Europe in the age of its global hegemony; the latest volume in the Penguin History of Europe series Richard J. Evans, bestselling historian of Nazi Germany, returns with a monumental new addition to the acclaimed Penguin History of Europe series, covering the period from the fall of Napoleon to the outbreak of World War I. Evans’s gripping narrative ranges across a century of social and national conflicts, from the revolutions of 1830 and 1848 to the unification of both Germany and Italy, from the Russo-Turkish wars to the Balkan upheavals that brought this era of relative peace and growing prosperity to an end. Among the great themes it discusses are the decline of religious belief and the rise of secular science and medicine, the journey of art, music, and literature from Romanticism to Modernism, the replacement of old-regime punishments by the modern prison, the end of aristocratic domination and the emergence of industrial society, and the dramatic struggle of feminists for women’s equality and emancipation. Uniting the era’s broad-ranging transformations was the pursuit of power in all segments of life, from the banker striving for economic power to the serf seeking to escape the power of his landlord, from the engineer asserting society’s power over the environment to the psychiatrist attempting to exert science’s power over human nature itself. The first single-volume history of the century, this comprehensive and sweeping account gives the reader a magnificently human picture of Europe in the age when it dominated the rest of the globe.
TELEGRAPH BOOKS OF THE YEAR AND EDITOR'S CHOICE 2015 In the summer of 1914 most of Europe plunged into a war so catastrophic that it unhinged the continent's politics and beliefs in a way that took generations to recover from. The disaster terrified its survivors, shocked that a civilization that had blandly assumed itself to be a model for the rest of the world had collapsed into a chaotic savagery beyond any comparison. In 1939 Europeans would initiate a second conflict that managed to be even worse - a war in which the killing of civilians was central and which culminated in the Holocaust. To Hell and Back tells this story with humanity, flair and originality. Kershaw gives a compelling narrative of events, but he also wrestles with the most difficult issues that the events raise - with what it meant for the Europeans who initiated and lived through such fearful times - and what this means for us.
Mark Greengrass's gripping, major, original account of Europe in an era of tumultuous change This latest addition to the landmark Penguin History of Europe series is a fascinating study of 16th and 17th century Europe and the fundamental changes which led to the collapse of Christendom and established the geographical and political frameworks of Western Europe as we know it. From peasants to princes, no one was untouched by the spiritual and intellectual upheaval of this era. Martin Luther's challenge to church authority forced Christians to examine their beliefs in ways that shook the foundations of their religion. The subsequent divisions, fed by dynastic rivalries and military changes, fundamentally altered the relations between ruler and ruled. Geographical and scientific discoveries challenged the unity of Christendom as a belief-community. Europe, with all its divisions, emerged instead as a geographical projection. It was reflected in the mirror of America, and refracted by the eclipse of Crusade in ambiguous relationships with the Ottomans and Orthodox Christianity. Chronicling these dramatic changes, Thomas More, Shakespeare, Montaigne and Cervantes created works which continue to resonate with us. Christendom Destroyed is a rich tapestry that fosters a deeper understanding of Europe's identity today.
The story of global cooperation between nations and peoples is a tale of dreamers goading us to find common cause in remedying humanity’s worst problems. But international institutions have also provided a tool for the powers that be to advance their own interests and stamp their imprint on the world. Mark Mazower’s Governing the World tells the epic story of that inevitable and irresolvable tension—the unstable and often surprising alchemy between ideas and power. From the beginning, the willingness of national leaders to cooperate has been spurred by crisis: the book opens in 1815, amid the rubble of the Napoleonic Empire, as the Concert of Europe was assembled with an avowed mission to prevent any single power from dominating the continent and to stamp out revolutionary agitation before it could lead to war. But if the Concert was a response to Napoleon, internationalism was a response to the Concert, and as courts and monarchs disintegrated they were replaced by revolutionaries and bureaucrats. 19th century internationalists included bomb-throwing anarchists and the secret policemen who fought them, Marxist revolutionaries and respectable free marketeers. But they all embraced nationalism, the age’s most powerful transformative political creed, and assumed that nationalism and internationalism would go hand in hand. The wars of the twentieth century saw the birth of institutions that enshrined many of those ideals in durable structures of authority, most notably the League of Nations in World War I and the United Nations after World War II. Throughout this history, we see that international institutions are only as strong as the great powers of the moment allow them to be. The League was intended to prop up the British empire. With Washington taking over world leadership from Whitehall, the United Nations became a useful extension of American power. But as Mazower shows us, from the late 1960s on, America lost control over the dialogue and the rise of the independent Third World saw a marked shift away from the United Nations and toward more pliable tools such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. From the 1990s to 2007, Governing the World centers on a new regime of global coordination built upon economic rule-making by central bankers and finance ministers, a regime in which the interests of citizens and workers are trumped by the iron logic of markets. Now, the era of Western dominance of international life is fast coming to an end and a new multi-centered global balance of forces is emerging. We are living in a time of extreme confusion about the purpose and durability of our international institutions. History is not prophecy, but Mark Mazower shows us why the current dialectic between ideals and power politics in the international arena is just another stage in an epic two-hundred-year story.
Three decades ago, François Furet famously announced that the French Revolution was over. Napoleon's armies ceased to march around Europe long ago, and Louis XVIII even returned to occupy the throne of his guillotined brother. And yet the Revolution's memory continues to hold sway over imaginations and cultures around the world. This sway is felt particularly strongly by those who are interested in history: for the French Revolution not only altered the course of history radically, but became the fountainhead of historicism and the origin of the historical mentality. The sixteen essays collected in this volume investigate the Revolution's intellectual and material legacies. From popular culture to education and politics, from France and Ireland to Poland and Turkey, from 1789 to the present day, leading historians expose, alongside graduate students, the myriad ways in which the Revolution changed humanity's possible futures, its history, and the idea of history. They attest to how the Revolution has had a continuing global significance, and is still shaping the world today.