Throughout his career, Davies has lectured in many countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, China, Poland, and in most of the rest of Europe as well. Over the past month early Aug. In short, he has achieved that allusive aim of popular history writers: to inform and entertain in one breath. If, like me, you do a lot of reading whilst travelling this book, at least in physical form, is probably a non-starter. Ever since I moved to Spain, time has been a problem. However, it is not an introductory work and often assumes that you alrea A very big read indeed, but worth every minute you spend on it. The ultimate distinction between liberal conservatives and moderate liberals was a fine one.
It has many fans, and rightly so. Does the average person know why Poland had a large Jewish population? Norman Davies divides his chapters between the the ideas and events that take place in the continent during each respective era. Among others, he has worked for the as well as British and American magazines and newspapers, such as , and. The book is great as an overview work but can also be used to fill in some of the gaps in your historical knowledge, especially about Eastern Europe, since it also goes into some detail. For several years, history has been the primary focus of what I read. To celebrate, I went to the Circulo de Bellas Artes, where they were having a public reading of Don Quixote. What does it mean to be a European? Takes real commitment to get through, but if you're in any way interested in Europe now or in the past, this is well worth the effort.
I could envision this book being incredibly helpful for an actual historian, because Davies does do an excellent job of weaving many threads into a cohesive whole. For the lay person, perhaps the best trait of the history are the many capsules throughout that do not and would not fit into the historical narrative but cite interesting tidbits of historical knowledge, particularly cultural knowledge: for instance, ever wonder how vampire legends began? I found myself sighing in recognition of so many of the follies of modern British and European politics, seeing how we simply refuse to learn the lessons of experience. Davies discusses the concept of 'Europe' as a starting point - in itself a fascinating exercise. I would highly recommend this book both for the specialist and the lay reader. Norman Davies captures it all-the rise and fall of Rome, the sweeping invasions of Alaric and Atilla, the Norman Conquests, the Papal struggles for power, the Renaissance and the Reformation, the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, Europe's rise to become the powerhouse of the world, and its eclipse in our own century, following two devastating World Wars. It was an act of faith that Oxford University Press decided to press ahead with the 1. Having not had a formal course in history since high school, I decided to read this book in order to build a general base of knowledge which can inform my future book choices.
Along the way Professor Davies treats us to biting asides about prior historians -- very nearly all of them, with rare exceptions like Thomas Carlyle -- and a series of short but immensely entertaining interstitial essays on discrete topics that are placed to the side so as not to slow the pace of the general history. Titled Microcosm: Portrait of a Central European City, the book was published simultaneously in English, Polish, German and Czech. Well the reason is that when Europe was ripping itself to pieces over religion in the 16th and 17th Poland had a conscious policy of religious freedom and toleration so the Jews of Europe came and settled in a land that did not persecute them. Davies received an honorary degree from his alma mater the University of Sussex. It assumes you have a firm background in European history. Although this book is a survey history, Davies does have one central concern: the European identity. If I ever need to know minute details about this continent, I will be sure to consult this tome.
Since the book is older than I am, it was interesting to see how Davies' predictions compared to how history really unfolded. In the 1990s, Davies published Europe: A History 1996 and The Isles: A History 1999 , about Europe and the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, respectively. As this war was denied in the of that time, he was obliged to change the title of his to The British Foreign Policy towards Poland, 1919—20. The work which established Davies' reputation in the English-speaking world was God's Playground 1981 , a comprehensive overview of Polish history. We celebrate birthdays to force ourselves to reflect on the past year, on how we have spent our time and, more chillingly, on how much time we have left. Additionally, this is a massive book for a paperback - 1,400 pages long with larger than normal pages, which at times just makes it hard to handle.
This excellent volume should hold up well for another 15 to 20 years before a new survey will be needed. Still, it should have been more focused on the modern world. Kudos to Davies for making the attempt. As someone with a fairly good knowledge of European history going into the reading of this book, it's easy to say that Davies includes all the major and minor points of history and then some. Admittedly, I cannot honestly determine if that's because Davies writing gets even better, or because this period of history is the one I am personally most interested in. Davies pays most attention to shifting our geographic perception of Europe, so doesn't propound an overall framework for the history he relates, but one is discernible. In Poland, his articles appeared in the liberal Catholic weekly.
I read this article right as my love of reading began to blossom. My Polish background makes that fine by me. Davies, who has written two books on Polish history, also gives the eastern part of Europe its due coverage, unlike many of his predecessors, and manages to include commoners and the persecuted or ignored in his story along with the mighty and the royal. When I first heard of the book I would never have imagined that I would finally read it, many years later, in Europe. Luckily, Davies is adept at both of these skills; unfortunately, the book is still too big to carry around. Liberal democracy at its European best was to be found in 19th Century Britain, where: Conservatism began to crystallize as a coherent ideology in conjunction with liberal trends. European Academy of Sciences and Arts,.
Everyone has a gap in their knowledge and Davies sees connections where most don't. Finally Davies does an admirable job of integrating the archeological studies of the last 30 years into his volume. I am finding myself going to Wikipedia frequently to supplement my reading. The twelve main chapters took up two years; the 'snapshots', that provided a charge of magnification at the end of each chapter, were produced at the rate of one a day, and the 300 'capsules' at more or less one a day. His previous books include God's Playground, A History of Europe 2 volumes , and Heart of Europe: A Short History of Poland. But is it crucial to remember; otherwise life can go by without us noticing. The ease with which extreme right wing and nationalist parties have risen time and time again in Europe should be a part of history better understood.
The end result is that a reader from any country, the U. As for many Eupeans Europe ends at the border of Germany, Norman Davies is determined to show objective European reality, including the history and culture of countries of Middle and Eastern Europe. Don't get me wrong, it's very thorough and well-written considering how much information is contained in it. And in a Proustian mood, I have wondered whether a tremendous act of remembrance is the only defense we have against the ceaseless tide of time. If Davies were a better writer, it'd be really solid a 4. However, I did notice some incorrect facts in the book for instance about Scandinavia which I know best , and this probably means there are many more incorrect facts I didnt notice. That's a quibble tho - I hate those dang : titles anyway, so who am I to complain.