Europe: A History
From the Ice Age to the Cold War and beyond, from Reykjavik to Riga, from Archimedes to Einstein, Alexander to Yeltsin, here between the covers of a single volume Norman Davies tells the story of Europe, East and West, from prehistory to the present day. The book's absorbing narrative lays down the chronological and geographical grid on which the dramas of European history have been played out. It zooms in from the distant focus of Chapter One, which explores the first five million years of the continent's evolution, to the close focus of the lasttwo chapters, which cover the twentieth century at roughly one page per year. In between, Norman Davies presents a huge and sweeping canvas packed with fascinating detail, analysis, and anecdote. Alongside Europe's better-known stories - human, national, and continental - he brings into focus areasoften ignored or misunderstood, remembering the stateless nation as well as the nation-state. Minority communities, from heretics and lepers to Jews, Romanies, and Muslims have not been forgotten. This masterly history reveals not only the rich variety of Europe's past but also the many and rewarding prisms through which it can be viewed. Each chapter contains a selection of telephoto 'capsules', illustrating narrower themes and topics that cut across the chronological flow. Davies thenconcludes with a wide-angle 'snapshot' of the whole continent as seen from one particular vantage point. The overall effect is stunning: a kind of historical picture album, with panoramic tableaux interspersed by detailed insets and close-ups. Never before has such an ambitious history of Europe been attempted. In range and ambition, the originality of its structure and glittering style, Norman Davies's Europe represents one of the most important and illuminating history books to be published by Oxford. Time Capsules 201 fascinating articles interspersed throughout the narrative focus on incidents or topics as various as The Iceman of the Alps, Erotic Graffiti at Pompeii, Stradivarius, and Psychoanalysing Hitler. Each capsule can be tasted as a separate self-contained morsel; or can be read in conjunction withthe narrative into which it is inserted. Snapshots 12 panoramic overviews across the changing map of Europe freeze the frames of the chronological narrative at moments of symbolic importance, such as Knossos 1628 BC, Constantinople AD 330, and Nuremberg 1945. A fully illustrated history Incorporates over 100 superbly detailed maps and diagrams, and 32 pages of black and white plates.
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - Paul_S - LibraryThing
At first I thought this would be very slow and detailed given the book's length but then very quickly realised this will have to fly through history at lightspeed - before reading this book I never ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - Joe73 - LibraryThing
This is one monster of a volume. It is well done, researched and put together. But it has some serious problems with the way it is laid out. The pages of side notes are informative but all together ... Read full review