Am höchsten bewertete positive Rezension
6 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich
One-volume European history as good as it gets
am 19. November 1998
For anyone to write a book on a topic as sweeping as the history of Europe is bound to be a monumentally daunting task. To write such a history that attempts to be balanced and inclusive is even more difficult. Davies' book is the best European history that I have come across, and I can't see how one could write a better history without covering multiple volumes or including multiple authors.
There are several features of Davies' book that, to me, make it stand out from other histories of Europe. First of all, he begins with, if you will, a "history of European history", describing how the subject has been viewed and written about in the past. He describes how various historical schools of thought have come and gone over the years, thus describing the larger context into which he introduces his history. Davies attempts to write his history without some of the biases that he believes exist in many previous works.
Secondly, Davies tells the story of Europe along several threads, understanding that "European" history is really several parallel and interacting histories of peoples, nations, states, etc. It is only relatively recently that one can really say that there has been a coherent and truly "European" history.
Thirdly, eastern Europe is finally given some due attention. Too many European histories have tended to dwell on northern and/or western parts of the continent. Only someone such as Davies, whose specialty is Polish history, could adequately include the more neglected parts of Europe. I especially liked his telling of the Soviet liberation of Warsaw during the last years of WW2 as contrasted with the Allied liberation of Paris at about the same time. It was definitely an eye-opener.
Finally, I especially liked Davies' use of "capsules" to address topics that might not be adequately covered in a narrative history, but that would be helpful in understanding the history of Europe in its entirety. The main text provides the meat of the story, but it's the capsules that give it the right spice and flavour.
The book is excellent because it covers a big topic without being too generalizing. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a good, substantial history of Europe.