Europe: A History

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Oxford University Press, 1996 - Europe - 1365 pages
39 Reviews
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 last two 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 areas often ignored or misunderstood, remembering the stateless nation as well as the nation-state. Minority communities, from heretics andlepers 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 then concludes 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 asvarious 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 with the 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.

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Review: Europe

User Review  - Goodreads

Extraordinary history of Europe. Brilliant, especially for its attention to eastern Europe, although written just after the opening of the Iron Curtain. The "lemma's" that accompany the chronological story are perfect complementaries, that give depth to the narrative. Read full review

Review: Europe

User Review  - Greg Perowne - Goodreads

Davies does a wonderful job of tying together loose ends frequently ignored by conventional historians. Particularly in the first parts, I learned a great deal about the Greek presence in Italy, the ... Read full review


Introduction i
Ancient Greece
Ancient Rome 753 BCAD 337
The Birth of Europe AD 330800
The Middle Age 7501270
Christendom in Crisis 12501493
Renaissances and Reformations 14501670
Enlightenment and Absolutism 0 16501789
A Continent in Turmoil 17701815
Europe in Eclipse 19141945
Notes to Chapters
Notes to Capsules
List of Capsules
Historical Compendium

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About the author (1996)

Norman Davies is Professor of Polish History at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London. His previous books include God's Playground: A History of Europe (2 vols.) and Heart of Europe: A Short History of Poland (in paperback from Oxford).

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