Europe: The Struggle for Supremacy from 1453 to the Present

Brendan Simms. Basic, $35 (540p) ISBN 978-0-465-01333-3
Bloody European statecraft and the interminable battle over Germany make the world go round in this magisterial history of modern international relations. Cambridge historian Simms (Unfinest Hour) surveys five centuries of European—and occasionally American—diplomacy, alliance-building, and warfare, from the 16th-century clashes between Spanish-Austrian Habsburgs and their French and Dutch rivals to today’s wrangles over E.U. budgets and overseas military deployments. At the center of his account is Germany, the sleeping giant whose fragmentation under the Holy Roman Empire, he argues, tempted foreign hegemons into endless military adventures—and whose unification under the Kaisers and Hitler sparked world wars. Simms chronicles this kaleidoscope of conflicts and coalitions with a graceful briskness that teases larger themes out of the welter of detail. His perspective is the antithesis of Annales-style, bottom-up social history: here it is the lofty power plays of kings and diplomats, egged on by hawkish publics, that create modernity by driving transformations in politics, religion, finance, and ideology. It sometimes overreaches—was the Russian Revolution really “a protest... against the failure of the Tsar to prosecute the conflict against Germany more vigorously”?—but Simms’s vision of great-power rivalry as the motor of history offers compelling insights amid a grand narrative sweep. 20 b&w photos, 8 maps. Agent: Michael Carlisle, Inkwell Management. (May 1)
Reviewed on: 02/04/2013
Release date: 04/01/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
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Ebook - 800 pages - 978-1-84614-725-8
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