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Europe: The Struggle for Supremacy, 1453 to the Present: A History of the Continent Since 1500 [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Brendan Simms
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Kurzbeschreibung

4. April 2013
Half a millennium of European warfare brilliantly retold by masterly historian Brendan SimmsAt the heart of Europe's history lies a puzzle. In most of the world humankind has created enormous political frameworks, whether ancient (such as China) or modern (such as the United States). Sprawling empires, kingdoms or republics appear to be the norm. By contrast Europe has remained stubbornly chaotic and fractured into often amazingly tiny pieces, with each serious attempt to unify the continent (by Charles V, Napoleon and Hitler) thwarted.In this marvelously ambitious and exciting new book, Brendan Simms tells the story of Europe's constantly shifting geopolitics and the peculiar circumstances that have made it both so impossible to dominate, but also so dynamic and ferocious. It is the story of a group of highly competitive and mutually suspicious dynasties, but also of a continent uniquely prone to interference from 'semi-detached' elements, such as Russia, the Ottoman Empire, Britain and (just as centrally to Simms' argument) the United States.Europe: The Struggle for Supremacy will become the standard work on this crucial subject - and an extremely enjoyable one.Reviews:'This is a brilliant and beautifully written history. From the Holy Roman Empire to the Euro, Brendan Simms shows that one of the constant preoccupations of Europeans has always been the geography, the power and the needs of Germany. Europe is a work of extraordinary scholarship delivered with the lightest of touches. It will be essential, absorbing reading for anyone trying to understand both the past and the present of one of the most productive and most dangerous continents on earth' William Shawcross'World history is German history, and German history is world history.This is the powerful case made by this gifted historian of Europe, whose expansive erudition revives the proud tradition of the history of geopolitics, and whose immanent moral sensibility reminds us that human choices made in Berlin (and London) today about the future of Europe might be decisive for the future of the world' Timothy Snyder (author of Bloodlands)About the author:Brendan Simms is Professor of the History of International Relations at the University of Cambridge. His major books include Unfinest Hour: Britain and the Destruction of Bosnia (shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize) and Three Victories and a Defeat: The Rise and Fall of the First British Empire.

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Europe: The Struggle for Supremacy, 1453 to the Present: A History of the Continent Since 1500 + The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914
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Produktinformation

  • Gebundene Ausgabe: 689 Seiten
  • Verlag: Allen Lane (4. April 2013)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0713994274
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713994278
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 23,6 x 16,2 x 4,6 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 69.026 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

Ought to sit on the desk of every politician, pundit and policy wonk ... [Simms] marshals the great events and grand strategies of the 550 years since the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks with a breath-stopping assurance. Panoramic, multi-faceted, his sweeping, well-paced narrative balances Paris and St Petersburg, London and Vienna (and not forgetting Washington), with awesome command. This is top-down European history, diplomatic and political, seen from the soaring eagle's eye. But what an eagle; and what an eye ... Simms offers a bracing corrective to anti-historical fantasies of a Britain unmoored from Continental fates (Boyd Tonkin Independent)

Brendan Simms is a historian of unusual range and ability ... this book is driven by two great master-ideas, and there is hardly a page in it where their presence is not felt ... the reader always has the exhilarating sense of moving swiftly onwards, in a kind of turbocharged Rolls-Royce of historical argumentation ... truly powerful and original (Noel Malcolm Telegraph)

Europe is a superb, sure-footed analysis of how this center of world civilization, technology, and warfare evolved since the fall of Constantinople in 1453. It is unabashedly political history, and the better for being so. Simms's acumen and sharp opinions are a joy to read. This book will be appreciated both by the general reader, and by history teachers everywhere (Paul Kennedy)

The broad perspectives of Brendan Simms's Europe: the Struggle for Supremacy [are] richly illuminating (Rupert Christiansen Telegraph BOOKS OF THE YEAR)

Brendan Simms's new history [is] especially timely. He has, in effect, dropped a big stone into the European pond and stood back to watch the ripples spread ... Compelling and provocative ... This is sweeping history, told with verve and panache, and it is all the more refreshing for that (Economist)

This is a brilliant and beautifully written history. From the Holy Roman Empire to the Euro, Brendan Simms shows that one of the constant preoccupations of Europeans has always been the geography, the power and the needs of Germany. Europe is a work of extraordinary scholarship delivered with the lightest of touches. It will be essential, absorbing reading for anyone trying to understand both the past and the present of one of the most productive and most dangerous continents on earth (William Shawcross)

A stimulating, impressive history that starts with the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453 and extends to the present day ... perspicacious and flexible ... an excellent read and its insights into the grand themes of European history are penetrating and lucidly argued (Tony Barber Financial Times)

Unrepentantly old-fashioned, lively and erudite ... The book is centrally concerned, rightly, with Germany, which Simms knows at first hand. Its great strength is that you are always reminded that European countries did not grow autonomously ... Europe is very ambitious in scope ... The references are prodigious, multilingual and extremely useful ... Simms knows what he is talking about (Norman Stone New Statesman)

How do you write a history of Europe ... without making it seem like a list of dates? The answer of Brendan Simms in his new book is both simple and brilliantly successful: take a strong thesis and argue it through from start to finish ... Simms has the breadth of knowledge and clarity of vision to make his case compelling. His book is also immensely entertaining as well as instructive. There are few pages not enlivened by sharp insight, telling vignette or memorable turn of phrase. In short, this is a great book and everyone interested in European history will want to read it (Tim Blanning BBC History Magazine)

There is nothing in the recent literature to match it ... Not only has Simms bitten off a huge chunk of history, he has mastered it with style and an awe-inspiring command of the literature ... [a] Herculean feat of synthesis (Josef Joffe Prospect)

Exciting ... In [Simms's] survey of European power politics through six centuries and more, he dissects the economic, social, administrative and religious aspects of the "domestic" life of the states involved ... Simms's eye for the telling detail is shown ... [his] majestic prose flows impressively ... lucid and perceptive (Times Higher Education)

[An] encyclopaedic, ambitious and fluent history of Europe ... [like] a great game of chess, except that as well as black and white pieces there are green, blue, orange and purple ones all moving around a multidimensional board. Place names swirl, battles are won and lost, and the pieces are reordered ... Inevitably readers will be drawn to Simms's fascinating picture of the origins of the European Union ... thoughtful and stimulating (David Abulafia Standpoint)

A tour de force ... With phenomenal surefootedness, [Simms] picks out the patterns in what might otherwise appear a trackless waste of victories, defeats, treaties and coalitions, extracting from them provocative lessons for Europe's present and future. Big ideas animate the book ... This fascinating book deserves a wide readership. Even those who do not share Simms's fears and hopes for the European Union will be enthralled by the brilliance of his analysis and the dizzying breadth of his vision (Christopher Clark Mail on Sunday)

Prodigious ... in its pages whole empires rise and fall ... Europe draws the reader forward with its grand epic of shifting alliances, clashing armies and ambitious statecraft. Mr. Simms ... is a skilled writer with a rare gift for compressed analysis. His focus on the military and diplomatic arc of European history lends his book a strong narrative line and thematic coherence (Jeffrey Collins Wall Street Journal)

European history comes in many guises, but Brendan Simms's strategic and geopolitical approach provides a strong and lucid framework within which everything else fits into place. His emphasis on the centrality of Germany offsets more western-orientated accounts while also giving due prominence to Eastern Europe. Covering the whole of the modern period, this book is more than an excellent introduction; it's a major interpretational achievement (Norman Davies)

World history is German history, and German history is world history. This is the powerful case made by this gifted historian of Europe, whose expansive erudition revives the proud tradition of the history of geopolitics, and whose immanent moral sensibility reminds us that human choices made in Berlin (and London) today about the future of Europe might be decisive for the future of the world (Timothy Snyder (author of Bloodlands))

A tremendous feat ... Simms's pages teem with some of the greatest characters in European history (Dominic Sandbrook Sunday Times)

Remarkably, such a large and complex book ... offers a very straightforward argument and thesis ... The more familiar the story, the more arresting is Simms's repositioning of it ... This isn't simply academic history but an account of how we came to be, albeit ambivalently and conflictedly, involved in a continental narrative that is still unfolding (Sunday Herald)

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Brendan Simms is Professor of the History of International Relations at the University of Cambridge. His major books include Unfinest Hour: Britain and the Destruction of Bosnia (shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize) and Three Victories and a Defeat: The Rise and Fall of the First British Empire.

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5 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Interessanter Blickwinkel 5. August 2013
Von Hannelor
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Brendan Simms erzählt faktenreich und gut geschrieben die europäische Geschichte seit dem Mittelalter und vertritt dabei die These, dass es im Endeffekt immer ums Deutschland ging - sei es, dass die umliegenden Nationen sich Teile des Reichsgebietes einverleiben wollten oder man die Machtbestrebungen Deutschlands bekämpfen wollte bzw. unter ihnen zu leiden hatte. Diese These ist nicht völlig neu und es ist auch kein Zufall, dass das Buch jetzt erscheint, also zu einem Moment, in dem die Rolle Deutschlands als neuen "Hegemon" (Economist) diskutiert wird. Gerade deshalb ist es interessant zu lesen.
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Amazon.com: 3.9 von 5 Sternen  51 Rezensionen
51 von 53 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A useful, if thesis-ridden, history of modern Europe. 23. Juni 2013
Von k - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Brendan Simms' book is an interpretation of modern European history and its chronological starting point is the fall of Byzantium. His thesis is that the Germans are the fulcrum of world history and that the last five-hundred years of Europe's history revolve around either attempts to create a universal monarchy based in Central Europe or strenuous efforts to prevent such a thing from being coming into being. The book is thus "old-fashioned" history, concerned with dynastic rivalry (the Hapsburgs vs. everyone else, especially) and, later, Great Power shenanigans both in Europe and overseas. There is relatively little cultural or economic history, such as has dominated European historiography for generations, and he does not waste time dealing with "the status of women" or "respect for minorities." This is realpolitik.

Impressive as it is, the book is not a uniform success. Simms has his hobby-horse and rides it relentlessly. Whatever happens, anywhere, happens because of a contest for the European "Heartland." In this regard, the book, well-researched as it is, constitutes a series of footnotes to Halford Mackinder and his historical mega-theories. ("Whoever controls the world-island," etc.) This sort of grand theorizing is pretty moldy today but early in the last century it was regarded as quite profound. (Arnold Toynbee and Oswald Spengler were two other historians of the "Rise and Fall" school, just as Marx was before them and Paul Kennedy and Jared Diamond are today's keepers of the flame.) It all makes for lofty pronouncements and the occasional sententious PBS mini-series and the sort of people who fall for this sort of thing are usually the same ones who insist that the Roman Empire "fell" because the ancient Romans began using lead water-pipes. In other words -- mostly moonshine.

The first third of the book will confuse most people and the final third will bore them. This is not necessarily the author's fault. It is very difficult for even trained, professional historians to clearly understand the Empire. It is nearly hopeless for the "Guns, Germs and Steel" or Will Durant crowd to attempt. They will try to conceive late medieval politics through the nation-state model and so end up utterly baffled. Simms' basic thesis -- that the Empire was the cockpit of European politics -- is potentially sound enough. But, the Empire was such a godawful political and religious ball of yarn and punched so far below its weight that it was repeatedly reduced to somebody else's battlefield.

Simms is strong in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and the reader will feel more at home here too. Nation-states have emerged as the actors in world-politics and Bismarck always makes for good copy. The most important event in European history between Waterloo and August 1914 was the creation of the German Empire and Simms gives this series of events full credit.

Simms also does an unusually good job of relating non-European developments to his concentration on mittleuropa. Great power rivalry in North America is nicely tied in with Pitt's overall strategy for containing France in the Empire and the Low Countries. But, none of this is news to historians -- although Simms does yeoman's work in providing a good summary.

The last part of the book is just a recapitulation of headlines during the postwar period. Germany, naturally enough, is the cockpit of the East-West rivalry according to Sims and for the era 1939-1955 he is a darn good guide. Where he falls down is with the post-USSR world in which each paragraph might as well begin, "And then, the next day, this is what happened." Anyone who was alive and conversant with public affairs will find little new in the last fifty or so pages of the book.

But, it is great to read 'history" again -- an account of the doings of the Great Powers and the importance of politics in human affairs. True, we do not learn much about the patriarchy of, say, rural Bulgaria in the nineteenth-century and how it oppressed milk-maids, and we don't hear much about capitalist exploitation of iron and steel workers in the Saar. This book is unabashed in its insistence that politics matters and that great power politics matters most of all. After all the retrospective sociology, masquerading as history, that has inundated us for generations, Simms' book is a fount of useful information and narrative.

Simms has given us a solid and utterly useful tome. If he becomes a bit of a Johnny-One-Note, most of us can probably live with it. He has something important to say and even if we dissent from some of it we all will come away from this book better informed and with some questions to ponder.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Continental Drift 14. Mai 2013
Von Robert Taylor Brewer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
A compendium of European ideals, aspirations, as well as failures, author Brendan Simms goes to extraordinary lengths to create the thesis that once again, the future of Europe flows through Germany. German military strategy, he argues, is today characterized by abstention, not ambition, as in the past. In economic matters too, retrenchment is a workable force in Germany: how long German taxpayers will be willing to fund the financial deficits of its neighbors is one of the more tantalizing questions he raises concerning the future of Europe. He points out that in many quarters, the European Union has become derisively known as a "transfer union", one in which the debts of profligate high spending neighbors get transferred to the Bundesbank. This has happened so often, he argues, it is no longer inconceivable that Germany could, as nations vie to enter the European Union, throw up its hands and exit the Union, re-installing the deutschmark as its national currency. This would leave Germany isolated and alienated, and we know what happened the last time Germany was left to its own devices.

European conflict with Islam in the form of the onset of the Crusades, and responding to changes unleashed by the Arab Spring marks both the beginning and the ending of this book and leads the author to suggest that despite the fast paced technology enabled world we live in, Europe's need for security has never changed. The book has a fast paced, fact filled approach to history that is less concerned with over arching themes and more taken with "action packed" sequences that allow busy readers to breeze through its 534 pages. Appropriate for scholars as well as the general reader.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A Great Achievement 26. Mai 2013
Von Eric C. Petersen - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Perhaps most of us think of European (and other) history as a series of events - specific wars, turning points in religion culture, the births of new forms of government, or changes in technology and economic systems. Simms covers all of these factors but his focus is on wars and politics and he brings a unique perception as to how these two are intertwined. There have been periods when conflicts followed each other quickly (18th century) or periods of relative calm - 19th century post Napoleon; however, even when things were "quite" rulers and politicians of all stripes in seemingly all countries were eagerly beavering away for the 500-year period covered in the book about how to improve their geopolitical position against enemies real or perceived, and more than often, "defensive" measures ended up creating just the opposite. Simms does an excellent job of presenting this at-times complex skein of events (where many a time former enemies end up in alliances)in a clear fashion and the book moves right along. I was hesitant to read the last section of post-WWII Europe - that includes the USA and China among others - as I thought "I knew all that stuff." Turns out I didn't, and like earlier periods covered, Simms brings a new perspective to history that should make the reader reconsider how he or she sees the past.
31 von 36 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Well done 12. Mai 2013
Von EWebb - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I was very pleasantly surprised here. One might think that a history of 500 years of a continents history written by a professor might be like a textbook.

This couldn't be further from the truth. While this book is centered around the political history of Europe it manages to reflect the culture and essence of Europe as well. I would have liked to have seen a bit more on the effects of religion on all of this but again you're covering 500 years in 700 pages.

The book shows how Europe became and arguably maintains its status as a world superpower when looking at it as a whole rather than separate countries. This shows that while each of these countries are unique there are more similarities than differences and their fates are really intertwined.

This is just an excellent example of how good writing and good editing can allow someone to get a book to cover a long historical period while keeping it engaging and interesting.
10 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen An Academic Kind of History Book 17. Juli 2013
Von kim harris - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I would not recommend this book for the casual reader. This book requires an effort of concentration that a casual reader is not going to want to invest. The content is extensive and dense. An academic might enjoy the book. A teacher/professor of history might want to add this book to their reading list. I wouldn't choose it for my main textbook. The topic is expansive as well as relatively detailed. I like the approach and happen to agree that Germany is at the heart of all European history certainly going back to the 1100s. the argument becomes even more compelling as we move into the 1500s. Said another way all European history goes through what we today call modern day Germany. The weakest part of the book is the authors' thoughts about the future of modern day Europe. Time will tell.
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