After Tamerlane: The Global History of Empire Since 1405

John Darwin, Author . Bloomsbury $34.95 (574p) ISBN 978-1-59691-393-6

Was Europe’s domination of the modern international order the inevitable rise of a superior civilization or the piratical hijacking of an evolving world system? A little of both, and a lot of neither, this ambitious comparative study argues—because world history’s real “center of gravity” sits in Eurasia. Historian Darwin (The End of the British Empire ) contends that an ascendant Western imperialism was a sideshow to vast, wealthy and dynamic Asian empires—in China, Mughal India, the Ottoman Middle East and Safavid Iran—which proved resistant to Western encroachment and shaped the world into the 21st century. Europe’s overseas colonial empires as well as the expansions of the United States across North America and Russia across Siberia—was not inevitable, but rather a slow, fitful and often marginal enterprise that didn’t accelerate until the mid-19th century. Darwin analyzes the technological, organizational and economic advantages Europeans accrued over time, but shows how dependent their success was on the vagaries of world trade (the driving force of modern imperialism, in his account) and the internal politics of the countries they tried to control. Nicely balanced between sweeping overview and illuminating detail, this lucid survey complicates and deepens our understanding of modern world history. Photos. (Feb)

Reviewed on: 10/15/2007
Release date: 02/01/2008
Paperback - 574 pages - 978-1-59691-602-9
Paperback - 592 pages - 978-0-14-101022-9
Open Ebook - 592 pages - 978-1-59691-760-6
Hardcover - 574 pages - 978-0-7139-9667-8
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