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Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Norman Davies
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Kurzbeschreibung

29. Dezember 2011
'The past is a foreign country' has become a truism, yet we often forget that the past is different from the present in many unfamiliar ways, and historical memory is extraordinarily imperfect. We habitually think of the European past as the history of countries which exist today - France, Germany, Britain, Russia and so on - but often this actually obstructs our view of the past, and blunts our sensitivity to the ever-changing political landscape. Europe's history is littered with kingdoms, duchies, empires and republics which have now disappeared but which were once fixtures on the map of their age - 'the Empire of Aragon' which once dominated the western Mediterranean; the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, for a time the largest country in Europe; the successive kingdoms (and one duchy) of Burgundy, much of whose history is now half-remembered - or half-forgotten - at best. This book shows the reader how to peer through the cracks of mainstream history writing and listen to the echoes of lost realms across the centuries. How many British people know that Glasgow was founded by the Welsh in a period when neither England nor Scotland existed? How many of us will remember the former Soviet Union in a few generations' time? Will our own United Kingdom become a distant memory too? As in his earlier celebrated books Europe: a history and The Isles, Norman Davies aims to subvert our established view of what seems familiar, and urges us to look and think again. This stimulating surprising book, full of unexpected stories, observations and connections, gives us a fresh and original perspective on the history of Europe.

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Produktinformation

  • Gebundene Ausgabe: 848 Seiten
  • Verlag: Allen Lane (29. Dezember 2011)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1846143381
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846143380
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 16,7 x 24,2 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.2 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (4 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 124.903 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Pressestimmen

Norman Davies has the gift of all great historians - the ability to make us rethink the past The Times

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Norman Davies was for many years Professor of History at the School of Slavonic Studies, University of London, and has also taught at Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, McGill, Cracow, Adelaide, Australian National and Hokkaido universities. He is the author of God's Playground: a History of Poland (1981), the No 1 best-seller Europe: a History (1996), Microcosm: Portrait of a European City (with Roger Moorhouse) and Rising '44: the Battle for Warsaw (date). From 1997-2006 he was Supernumerary Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford; he is now Professor at the Jagiellonian University at Cracow, an Honorary Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford and a life member of Clare Hall and Peterhouse, Cambridge. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, and lives in Oxford and Cracow.

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4.0 von 5 Sternen Spannendes Thema 19. Juni 2013
Von Peer Sylvester TOP 1000 REZENSENT
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Der Historiker Norman Davies erzählt hier die Geschichte von 15 untergegangenes Ländern. Dabei beginnt jedes Kapitel mit einer Standortbestimmung: Wo befand sich das Land? Wie sieht es heute dort aus? Es folgt eine sehr detaillierte Geschichtsstunde, in der die Historie des Landes sehr ausführlich von den Anfängen bis zum Ende dargestellt wird. Jedes Kapitel schließt mit allgemeineren Betrachtungen ab.
Das Thema ist natürlich hochinteressant und zudem sehr originell: Wer möchte nicht gerne etwas über Burgund, Aragon oder die Eintagesrepublik Rusyn erfahren? Allerdings ist das Buch nicht ohne Fehl und Tadel: Ohnehin ist Vanished Kingdoms kein populärwissenschaftliches Buch, sondern kommt eher im Lehrwerk-stil daher, doch Davies neigt zudem dazu einige Sachverhalte etwas überlang darzustellen - so vergleicht er etwa 5 Seiten lang was verschiedene Lexika über Burgund zu sagen haben. Zweitens schwankt die Qualität der Kapitel stark. Extrembeispiel ist Byzanz, bei dem sehr wenig Geschichtliches erzählt wird, sondern es eher um die Historiker geht, die Byzanz beschrieben haben. Auch drängt sich die Frage auf, warum er Montegnegros Geschichte unter "Tsernagora" zusammenfasst (dem russischen Namen von Montenegro), wenn er im Text selbst "Montenegro" verwendet - gleiches gilt für Ostpreußen/Borussia.
Spätestens wenn man beim Kapitel Irland angelangt ist - dass ja bekanntlich nicht untergegangen ist und daher eigentlich auch nicht in dieses Buch gehört - fragt man sich, on Davies nicht eigentlich die Geschichte Europas über die Königreiche erzählen will (das wird im Kapitel über die UdSSR sogar noch deutlicher, deren Text sich zu 3/4 mit den Baltikstaaten auseinandersetzt).
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Friedhöfe der Geschichte 11. Februar 2013
Format:Taschenbuch
Das ganz andere Europa

(Diese Rezension bezieht sich auf die Ausgabe bei Penguin Books, 2011)

Der Verfasser, Norman Davies, hat gegenüber vielen seiner Kollegen den großen Vorteil, dass er sich nicht nur in einem – mehr oder weniger sprachlich definierten – Kulturkreis bewegt, sondern den europäischen Teil der Welt von verschiedenen konkreten Blickwinkeln aus betrachtet. Dadurch erlangt er eine Unabhängigkeit im Urteil, um die man ihn beneiden muss. Darüberhinaus erweist er sich nicht nur als irgendwie gearteter Fachmann für bestimmte historische Bereiche, sondern geht über die Grenzen der Historiographie hinaus in den Bereich der Philosophie. Er versucht, ähnlich wie dies ein Psychiater bei Individuen tut, allgemeine Verhaltensmuster für ganze Völker herauszuarbeiten, indem er sozusagen die Völker als kohärente Wesen betrachtet, genauso, wie ein Astronom die Bewegungen von Himmelskörpern der verschiedensten Art anhand einiger weniger Gesetze beschreibt.

Das vorliegende Buch befasst sich mit einer Mandel von Reichen, die in den zwei Jahrtausenden nach Christi Geburt in Europa entstanden, Europas Geschicke entscheidend beeinflussten und dann wieder von den Landkarten – nicht jedoch aus den Herzen und Hirnen ihrer Bewohner – verschwanden.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Tschechische Republik und K u K Monarchie 6. Mai 2014
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Norman Davies ist nicht nur ein ernst zu nehmender Historiker, er versucht auch noch den Text dem Leser
Auf eine sehr unterhaltsame Weise zu bieten. Er ist zudem ein Kenner Osteuropas (Litva,Polen, Borussia).
Offenbar war ihm die Geschichte der östrreich-ungarischen Monarchie zu riskant. Ich habe vermisst, dass er die
Sudetenfrage der tschechischen Republik nicht behandelt hat. Wenn er nicht will, sollte das jemand tun, als Brite
Wäre er aber trotz Chamberlain bestens geeignet.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen Gemischt 13. Mai 2014
Von M. Grün
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interessanter Ansatz, aber über die Auswahl liese sich trefflich streiten
schade auch das er sich etwas in osteuropa verliert
und meint mit Byzanz und der UdSSR zwei zu grosse Brocken für das Buch abhandeln zu müssen
und warum irland?
denn es hätte ja auch in Westeuropa noch interessante in den Nationalstaaten untergegangene Länder gegeben
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Amazon.com: 3.9 von 5 Sternen  67 Rezensionen
130 von 137 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Many intriguing accounts of forgotten states 17. Januar 2012
Von Graham - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This is an imposing tome, with 750 pages of tightly written history of 15 of Europe's (mostly) smaller states, many of which have now entirely vanished, both from maps and from popular memory.

One of Prof Davies' main themes is the uncertainty of nations. It is easy to think of today's European states as the natural sub-units of the continent. But many other forgotten states might have seemed just as natural, if they had only been a little luckier. Another pattern that struck me is the multi-ethnic nature of many of Davies' states. They were often welded together from a mix of peoples, overlapping in the same physical terrain, but willing to live together in some varying degree of harmony.

The states covered are Visigothic Tolosa, ancient British Strathclyde, the many Kingdoms of Burgundy, Aragon, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Byzantium (very briefly), Prussia, the lands of the House of Savoy, Galicia, the Napoleonic Kingdom of Etruria, Saxe-Coburg (birthplace of Prince Albert), Montenegro (lost and reborn), Carpatho-Ukraine (a Republic for but a day), Eire (a newborn state), and last but not least the USSR (freshly and mysteriously vanished). By winding up on the USSR, Davies takes the opportunity to reflect on the inevitability of change. "Nothing lasts forever" and Davies argues that while today's major states may seem permanent, they too will eventually fade, or change into very different forms.

The book has both strengths and weaknesses. Among the strengths are thorough histories of various forgotten states, including many fascinating nuggets of history, greed, intrigue and folly. Davies is especially interesting when he is reminiscing informally about the modern landscape of an ancient state or when he is discussing its slowly fading impact after it had officially ceased to exist. The main weakness is that the detailed histories can often become over-detailed, lapsing from a high-level thematic description into a detailed king-by-king listing of minor monarchs and events. I'm afraid there were some sections it took me a real effort to labor through.

I am a little torn on how to recommend this overall. There is much that is good and interesting, and the overall theme of the transitory nature of states is well addressed. But at 750 pages, it is also a very daunting work, and I'm not sure how many people will enjoy all the finer points of the histories. My suggestion would be that overall this is well worth reading, but perhaps with judicious skipping and skimming where the details become too much.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen thorough and magisterial 13. Januar 2012
Von Tony Williams - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
For a reader of what can be called tertiary historical works (so those written by someone who studies the source documents and most usually in a specific field and who also understands the process by which secondary works come about) I am always aware of what is possibly being left out because it doesn't quite fit onto the overall message of the book. Since I am unlikely to ever have the time or inclination to, for example, learn to read Polish or Lithuanian documents to ensure that there are no glaring lacunae, Dr Davis's book gives me great comfort and the assurance that inconvenient facts are included, and the result is a provocative, readable and sad work. Sad, because so many countries that seemed to be not bad places to live (compared to others of their time) vanish into history, forgotten by all but a few.

He is passionate about Poland-Lithuania, and the sections that involve this are superb. I would have greatly enjoyed an expanded section on Byzantium, but as he points out, that could take many volumes, and to a certain extent, has been covered, if in a fashion that while amusing is somewhat out of fashion today.

This is a great book.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Wonderful Essays on Forgotten Europe 18. Januar 2012
Von S. Heminger - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
The historical memory of nations has a great deal to do with their position amongst contemporaries at the time of their existence. Thus the stories of Rome, Greece and Great Britain are well chronicled. In fact the historiography seems to grow by the week of these great nations and empires. In contrast however, nations that had an admittedly mediocre history, or were perhaps consumed by these other great nations have largely disappeared from the historical picture. A current analogy might be the manner with which we tend to forget mediocre performing professional athletes and the astronauts after Neil Armstrong to walk on the moon. This is the type of issue that Norman Davies sees in the current state of history of Europe,however and he has set about to remedy, at least in small part, this glaring gap in the historical record of Europe with the writing of `Vanished Kingdoms'. In so doing he has striven to "both highlight the contrast between times present and past and to explore the workings of historical memory"(9). What's more is that, although left unstated, this work sets out to collect a series of histories that might never be able to be read by the layperson due to the highly specialized nature of the research, as it currently exists. What has resulted is a fantastic work of history and although it is some 739 pp in length, is hardly a ponderous read.

The book is organized into 15 essays covering such little known nations and kingdoms as Alt Clud, Tolosa and Etruria. Each chapter is further organized into three sections covering, in order: a sketch of some geographical area as it exists now within the onetime borders of a particular kingdom, a narrative of the particular nation and lastly, the current state of historiography of the kingdom/nation. Lastly these essays are organized by their general relative age. The aforementioned organization makes `Vanished Kingdoms' a pleasure to read. In my own experience, the chapter covering the history of the many manifestations of Burgundia, was particularly enjoyable, with the story set up by the description of the island of Bornholm, which once was part of the massive territory of Burgundy. In general, the narrative flows quite well as I have come to expect from Prof Davies works. Detail is rich in this book without becoming burdensome.

Although, other reviewers have taken exception to the historiographical analysis found in the third section of each chapter I have found these sections to be particularly interesting. Prof Davies is a consummate historian with decades of work spent on various topics in European history and although his opinions of the state of history in each section may not concur with the reader's own conception, they are as interesting as the general narrative itself and frequently quite enlightening. Besides, isn't the entire point of analysis to do the research and then state one's conclusions based on said research? If his opinion makes frequent appearances in this analysis, I'd argue that it makes those conclusions far more interesting to read than many I've seen in other sources. Curmudgeonly is hardly an accurate description of his outlook here.

In conclusion, `Vanishing Kingdoms' is an absolute treasure for those of us who are fascinated with times past and are wanting more than merely the standard works on the standard topics in national histories ie., Rome, Greece and anywhere in modern Europe. The narrative flows and many times throughout the book, the reader will find him or herself wishing to investigate the history of old Europe in greater detail. Indeed, I now have a list of topics to further research. I must extend a heartfelt thanks to Prof Davies for wetting my appetite and instilling the desire to broaden my horizons in European history as only a great writer can do.
116 von 151 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Part Travelogue, Part History, Part Pedantic Bore 13. Januar 2012
Von Greg Polansky - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Davies' thesis is that because modern historians write from the perspective of successful states, we often forget about all the states that didn't make it to the twenty-first century. Great thesis and it caused me to preorder this book. He then goes on to discuss 15 states that no longer appear on the map. In addition, each chapter is divided into roughly three sections - a travelogue of the present area, some history of the area, and a description of the scholarship on the area. It is the third part that often presents the problems for me.

I think that if it were better written, the third part could be great. But half the time Davies comes across as curmudgeonly, acting as if he knows better than all the other historians. For example, at the end of the chapter on Burgundy, he goes on. And on. And on about how his description of the history of Burgundy is the only complete one while everyone else is not. And then we are subjected to descriptions of encyclopedias and entries in search engines.

The other main problem is that the descriptions of history read like a medieval history. There is precious little analysis - basically it reads like an encyclopedia entry itself. And that's a problem for me because the idea behind the book is really interesting. Perhaps Davies would have better availed himself of the material if he had written about half the places but with double the information. Then a chapter like the one on Byzantion (The Byzantine Empire) would not be the biggest joke of the book due to its extreme shortness. He should have just left it out.

I would say to those considering reading this book to treat it as Lonely Planet: Lost Kingdoms rather than a serious scholarly history.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Not a difficult read but an important one 21. Januar 2012
Von Robert Busko - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
"Oh where, oh where has my little dog gone?" In the case of Vanished Kingdoms: The Rise and fall of States and Nations by Norman Davies the question in this case could be "Oh where, oh where has my little "kingdom" gone?" Davies provides us with an answer, at least a partial one in the case of 15 once thriving kingdoms and states. Spanning nearly two thousand years kingdoms as diverse as Tolosa (AD 418-507), Burgundia (411-1795), Aragon (1137-1714), Byzandion (330-1453) and others are included. The last is CCCP which of course evaporated in 1991.

Each chapter is a case study of what can happen when bad decision making by those holding the reins of power respond incorrectly to a threat or simply fail to respond at all. Some of these nation states were made up of a mixed ethnic population and for whatever reason the factions decided to go their own ways. Others, like Byzantium were conquered from the outside. It is my opinion that Davies does his best work in the Byzantine chapter.

One realization that stays in the readers mind as the book is studied is the fact that every one of these now defunct states was at one time a thriving system. When a map of Europe is studied today, the overall assumption is that the countries that take up that space have always been there and will continue to exist right on into the future. But after reading Vanished Kingdoms the realization takes root that nothing is permanent.

The final chapter, How States Die (not numbered) beginning on page 729 is a curious and interesting read. One would assume that the process by which kingdoms and nation states come and go would be pretty well understood by those who study the field. Such is not the case as is evident by the number of terms used to describe the process. "Dissolution", "destruction", "withering", "extinction", "expiration", "death", "failure", "disintegration" are all mentioned. It's obvious that there is a difference between "destruction" and "withering" though the same outcome results. Very interesting.

The book includes and excellent Index, and has a large Notes section, perhaps the second most important part of a book of this nature.

I have to give this 5 stars.

Peace to all.
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