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The Oxford History of Modern Europe ❰Read❯ ➯ The Oxford History of Modern Europe Author Timothy C.W. Blanning – Thomashillier.co.uk Written by an international team of leading scholars, The Oxford History of Modern Europe traces Europe s turbulent history, from the beginnings of the Revolution in France to the dawn of two world wa Written by an History of Kindle Ï international team of leading scholars, The Oxford History of Modern Europe traces Europe s turbulent history, from the beginnings of the Revolution in France to the dawn of two world wars to the breakup of the Soviet Union to today s kaleidoscope of nation states The achievements and failures of key figures from many arenas politics, technology, warfare, religion, and the arts among them are drawn vividly, and social, cultural, and economic insights are included alongside the record of geopolitical strife We read of the personality cult as The Oxford Epub / exemplified by the Soviet portraits glorifying Lenin the importance of the nylon stocking in the post World War II economic boom the influence of religion as five new nations Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Romania, and Albania emerged betweenandan influence that continues to be both vigorous and deadly and the confrontation between traditional and modern cultures captured as the railway age began in Russia Insightful, provocative, and intellectually rewarding, this book offers an unparalleled, informed perspective on the history of the continent.


10 thoughts on “The Oxford History of Modern Europe

  1. Bevan Lewis Bevan Lewis says:

    This review focuses on chapters one to five which provide an overview of the nineteenth century Further chapters to come Oxford University Press have made a specialty of selling an extensive library of multi author histories The editor of this volume, Timothy Blanning has himself taken on the task of producing a number of these, including general editorship of the multivolume Short Oxford History of Europe In his introduction to those volumes he highlights the challenges of depth and breadth This review focuses on chapters one to five which provide an overview of the nineteenth century Further chapters to come Oxford University Press have made a specialty of selling an extensive library of multi author histories The editor of this volume, Timothy Blanning has himself taken on the task of producing a number of these, including general editorship of the multivolume Short Oxford History of Europe In his introduction to those volumes he highlights the challenges of depth and breadth Really these confront all history which attempts geographic or chronological breadth History needs to be fairly interpretive, and by nature dependent on others scholarship as it expands its sweep The only means to avoid this is to engage multiple authors They can either covering a specific timespan the multi volume Oxford History of England breaks time into 30 50 year chunks and hands each volume to individual authors , theme The Short Oxford History of Europe gives authors individual topics such as politics or economy or geographic area The Cambridge Modern History, probably the first of these efforts, features volumes on The Ottoman Conquest, Italy and her Invaders and two generous volumes on Florence A multi author volume can provide greater credibility for individual topics, but at the cost of coherence The strength of J M Roberts classic Penguin History of the World or Yuval Noah Harari s Sapiens is the single vision and interpretive framework drawing the book together, albeit at the sacrifice of expert and deep knowledge of particular periods and areas as seen in the coverage of East Asia in Roberts book The Oxford History of Modern Europe takes off quite a big bite of history the entire European continent through a period of dramatic change and European world hegemony Blanning organises the text well He divides the period into pre World War 1 and post, and assigns eleven experts to topics of politics, economy, war, society and culture Blanning s introduction expertly weaves these into a coherent summary of how Europe has undergone two centuries of dramatic change and world expansion Without over thinking the meaning of Modern he identifies the end of the eighteenth century as the beginning of a new epoch It is hard to talk about this periodisation without mentioning Eric Hobsbawm another example of a single author covering big sweeps of history In The Age of Revolution he outlined an influential interpretation of the early nineteenth century as being characterised by dual revolutions the consequences of the French Revolution of 1789, and the economic revolution of the Industrial transformation Blanning adds the Napoleonic Wars, the decisive transition in society from orders to classes and the cultural phenomenon of the romantic revolution as marks of the beginning of the modern.One of my favourite historians, J M Roberts leads the charge with a look at politics in the nineteenth century His writing is always interpretive, looking at connections and patterns rather than specific events and personalities Don t expect colourful anecdotes about antics at the Congress of Vienna or amusing anecdotes of Kaiser Wilhelm II s foreign policy fumbles He divides the century into much the same subdivisions as Hobsbawm a period of upheaval and war until 1815, peace until mid century, twodecades of upheaval then a second great peace until 1914 Blanning divides each chapter with subheadings, an effective method of organisation Robert s first section is provocatively titled The Myth of Revolution Roberts sees the myth of revolution as central to the politics of the nineteenth century Whether it was believed that irresistible forces were working to assure that revolution was inevitable, or that propaganda and organization could bring it about and whether people viewed the outcome as desirable or horrific the idea that the central issue of politics was to be for or against the revolution was a great simplifier it provided a way of seeing, understanding, explaining things otherwise difficult or unintelligible Roberts believes that the spectre of Revolution was mythological in the sense that the ideathan the fact of revolution was significant The most concrete actions were in the pre 1815 period France was the great power of eighteenth century Europe, and thus the events of the reaction against the failures of the ancien regime Ironically the growth in the strength of the French revolutionary state, as seen in the defeats of the other European powers in the Napoleonic Wars led to changes which strengthened the dynastic powers of Prussia, Austria and Russia They were also influenced by another new idea from the Revolution that legitimacy for government is to be sought in some kind of debate and competition for the support of the public This idea can t really be overstated.Thirty years of peace were followed by the upheaval of 1848 Despite the failures Roberts sees the legacy of the second Revolutionary actions as immense Germany saw the emigration of the radical leadership afterwards, accentuating the dominance of Prussian conservatives In France the middle class distrusted Paris and the republicans Italy wasfirmly under Austrian hegemony Butthan all these localised effects was the recognition of the power of nationalism, a clarion call taken up by conservatives Roberts zeroes in on the Balkans in the late nineteenth century After 1871 five new nations emerged in the region They were products of the Concert of Europe , the post 1815 diplomacy which successfully avoided war between the great powers in the area with the exception of the Crimean War by the expedient of carving states out of the deflating Ottoman Empire Eventually however Russia and Austria s growing interest in the region along with those Balkan nation s greed for growth would be the catalyst for the First World War Clive Trebilcock is not a historian I have read before he passed away in 2004 Along with some business histories his major publications were ,iThe Industrialisation of the Continental Powers 1789 1914, a contribution to the twentieth century volume of The Fontana Economic History of Europe and editing Understanding Decline Perceptions and Realities of British Economic Performance He contributed an outstanding and well argued chapter on the economics of the nineteenth century, and the other arm of Hobsbawm s dual revolution There is no doubt about the criticality of this process, one which Trebilcock divides into three critical phases the 1780s to 1820s, 1840 to 1870 and 1895 to 1914 Britain dominated the first with innovations in cotton textiles and ironmaking The second phase saw the take off of France, the German states and the United States Railways were the key new ingredient of this new stage of progress, both in enabling other industries as well as being a driver of both engineering and financial innovation After a period of depression the last period of acceleration was stimulated by a new set of additions to the list of leading industrial economies Italy, Japan, Sweden, Austria and Russia New sectors also lead the drive chemical and electrical engineering, bicycles and cars The second wave economies France, the US and Germany led the way with Britain lagging Trebilcock highlights the slow gradual nature of the process if revolution is the right term in terms of the dramatic transformation it was not a violent one Surprisingly to me Russia, one of the late developers in fact achieved the fastest rates of growth Prior to 1914 the tsarist empire was achieving an annual growth in industrial output of 8% in the 1890s We are also reminded of continuities The traditional albeit modernised agricultural sector still made upthan 25% of all leading economy s national output in 1910 with the exception of Britain.The discussion of the military could not be in better hands than Hew Strachan s He highlights the transformation in warfare in the nineteenth century, far greater than that of the twentieth century Strachan insightfully points out however that success in war was not directly linked to industrial and technological development Russia, still the most backward power in Europe managed to maintain a war against Germany singlehandedly for three years, whilst evenremarkably the Ottoman empire fought on up to four fronts for the duration of the Great War I found Strachan s point regarding the logic of going to war interesting Observers prior to World War I pointed to the inutility of war due to the massive cost to advanced economies, drawing off manpower and disrupting trade and industry The paradox of the resilience of backward economies such as Russia until 1917 and the Ottoman Empire certainly reinforces that the significance of national economic development for the making of war was confused Technological advantage had played a major role seen in the success in winning empire in the nineteenth century, and in Britain s decisive naval technology she was not to fight a fleet action between the Battle of Trafalgar and the Battle of Jutland Strachan also discusses the philosophy of war, the impact of the railway and rise of the General Staff as well as the professionalisation of war and the rise of the mass army The chapter is insightful, and although it is dominated by World War I and changes leading to it, this can be justified to some extent by the fact that it was largely a century of peace Perhaps a littlediscussion of colonial war would have been welcome.Patricia Pilbeam discusses the people Social history saw significant demographic changes which would accelerate in the twentieth century Population exploded from 193 million to about 423 million, shattering the Malthusian cycle Huge proportions emigrated One of the most significant changes however was the shift from orders to class consciousness, a change Pilbeam originates in the French Revolution The first half of the century saw class unrest but with specific grievances rather than a desire to overthrow governments One effect of the legacy of the French Revolution was fear of another outbreak, which resulted in violent suppression of rebellion by governments A significant change was in the development of an interventionist state to resolve social issues in an attempt to head off revolution with an accompanying increase in representation Most countries ensured though that representation was confined to elites who also retained a disproportionate share of wealth.In the last chapter on the nineteenth century Tim Blanning discusses culture His chapter title gives away what he sees as two major facets commercialisation and sacralisation Although the French Revolution saw art aimed at a broader public rather than wealthy patron, celebrating the secular world the culture of the French Revolution proved to be a blind alley The first and most important trend is Romanticism the power of the fabulous and the irrational over the universal, abstract, and rational of the Enlightenment Its cold rationalism was felt to be inadequate in describing a chaotic natural world The egocentric romantics rejected the old world of patronage by royalty and elites, but were challenged by the inexorable rise of mass culture Blanning describes well the importance of the piano as an example of this, and the relationship between technology and art Secularisation brought the sacralisation of art as it became an object of veneration in and of itself Although artists attempted to create an impression of the genius unaffected by their audience, success resulted from acceptance by a mass audience Blanning describes how music began its march towards is present day artistic hegemony in the nineteenth century with the fame of musicians such as Paganini, Rossini and Liszt The rise of romanticism dovetailed with nationalism as artists rejected the cosmopolitanism of eighteenth century culture The nation was the most important point of reference in human affairs The rise of new political entities in Eastern Europe in the twentieth century is inextricably linked to efforts such as the long campaign to build a National Theatre in Prague.Realism was the natural successor to, and reaction against romanticism This was then submerged by a generation disillusioned with the long depression after 1873, reacting against liberalism with what became known as symbolism Early in the twentieth century art was fragmenting into stylistic anarchy The Oxford History of Modern Europe may not reflect the very latest historiographic trends but overall provides an extremely useful overview of modernism This is not a narrative history and could not be in this space , however the various authors present a reasonably unified and well informed overview of the period The nineteenth century chapters reinforce the importance of the industrial revolution and technology in driving social and military change, and the complex importance of political revolution, or fear thereof The book provides a well written interpretive overview of the period for the interested reader or those taking a survey course which would be well supplemented bydetailed texts such as the Penguin History of Europe volumes by Tim Blanning, Richard Evans and Ian Kershaw or alternatively books such as Barricades and Borders by Robert Gildea or the older titles in the Fontana History of Europe series


  2. Dan Cohen Dan Cohen says:

    This is a collection of essays by eminent academic historians, mainly professors at British universities, each one focussing on a different aspect of history since the French revolution This fact leads to both the strengths and weaknesses of the book.On the plus side, I felt there was a lot of insight here, and identification of interesting patterns of change in politics, economics, culture, and warfare Looking at a specific theme across Europe made for a less parochial view and helped me to p This is a collection of essays by eminent academic historians, mainly professors at British universities, each one focussing on a different aspect of history since the French revolution This fact leads to both the strengths and weaknesses of the book.On the plus side, I felt there was a lot of insight here, and identification of interesting patterns of change in politics, economics, culture, and warfare Looking at a specific theme across Europe made for a less parochial view and helped me to put developments in Britain into the context of a wider picture.On the down side, I found some of the writing obscure, and the quality from my perspective was variable according to the author There was little in the way of useful illustration especially maps and the essays felt a little dry I struggled with the lack of clear logical structure in some of the essays, and was completely nonplussed by the one on the history of art in modern Europe which was comfortably the hardest to read and least rewarding.So, although this is, for the most part, not particularly difficult to read, neither is it particularly easy or a page turner by any means I think I ll get most from it when a particular subject catches my attention and I can go back and read the relevant chapter and focus on what the author has to say Worth reading, but better as a reference than as a linear read


  3. Theodoros Theodoros says:

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  4. Mursalin Mosaddeque Mursalin Mosaddeque says:

    The chapter Warfare in Europe since 1918 by Richard Overy is pretty good.I like the way the author assembles his thoughts and puts the progressive logical structure in his essay.I hope to readof Richard Overy in the future


  5. Bagus Anugerah Yoga Bagus Anugerah Yoga says:

    The Oxford History of Modern Europe is a concise summary of the history of Europe spanning from the French Revolution in 1789 into contemporary Europe This book consists of 11 thematic essays with various topics, analysing the development of Europe in the past three centuries in culture, economics, technology, warfare, etc For readers who are looking for general information about modern Europe in about 300 pages, this is the book to go for And like how a good history book should be, this book The Oxford History of Modern Europe is a concise summary of the history of Europe spanning from the French Revolution in 1789 into contemporary Europe This book consists of 11 thematic essays with various topics, analysing the development of Europe in the past three centuries in culture, economics, technology, warfare, etc For readers who are looking for general information about modern Europe in about 300 pages, this is the book to go for And like how a good history book should be, this book is accompanied by several maps which show the border changes of Europe in 1789, 1815, 1914, post WWII, and contemporary Europe Map is an important instrument for understanding the development of a region, especially when it concerns a huge timeline like what this book tries to convey This is especially true when we try to understand the concept of European integration Europe used to be fragmented and even the concept of nation state is still relatively new prior to the French Revolution Even Germany and Italy are just recently unified as a nation state in 1871.Another notable achievement of this book is how it employs interdisciplinary approach to analyse European affairs It does not concern only European politics, but also tries to see Europe from other dimensions which expose our minds as readers to the influence of technology into the changes in European society One of the essays in this book argues that in just one century span between Napoleonic War in early 19th century and the First World War 1914 1918 , technology for warfare combats has changed so much with the introduction of tanks, guns and modern fortifications into the battlefields This is a strikingly good example of describing how one phenomenon called Industrial Revolution could affect other affairs such as warfare combats There are other good examples presented in the book.All in all, this book tries to raise a big question to the readers besides providing information Modern is the term to define a period which has just recently passed We use the term Post modern to call the period which happened after the Modern period But the period which happened in the 16th century, for example, was once considered a Modern period for the people who lived in the 17th century due to its recent timeline Since this book is published in 2000, it closes the last chapter with a big question of European integrity in the 21st century After almost 50 years of European division into two blocs during the Cold War, Europe has been fragmented again into many states The 1990s saw the creation of the European Union EU which brings a vision of united and integrated Europe But where will this lead Europe into It would be interesting if there is a revision of this book which includes several happenings in Europe in the 21st century Brexit, Eurozone, etc


  6. Adelheid Adelheid says:

    This is a collection of essays from Historians in their own specialties Some are absolutely wonderful Some are not Many are too dry, yet others have some glaring mistakes Few are typos, sadly at least one is a glaring inaccuracy The people of Germany are not descended from the Goths and Visigoths who burned Rome , most seem to be the misuse of words I am unsure if they were testing their editors and colleagues to see if they noticed or not or if in their attempt to argue they inadvertentl This is a collection of essays from Historians in their own specialties Some are absolutely wonderful Some are not Many are too dry, yet others have some glaring mistakes Few are typos, sadly at least one is a glaring inaccuracy The people of Germany are not descended from the Goths and Visigoths who burned Rome , most seem to be the misuse of words I am unsure if they were testing their editors and colleagues to see if they noticed or not or if in their attempt to argue they inadvertently used the wrong words Some of the essays need to be changed out before a new edition of this book is published


  7. Ed Callahan Ed Callahan says:

    This is a helpful, quick survey of the major trends and movements in European history from the French Revolution through the modern day It should be read in conjunction with otherdense treatments, for example Merriman.


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