Posted by Unknown on 10/30/2012 / Labels: history
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Perhaps to make this survey seem more like a narrative and less pedantic cited works for each essay are relegated to the back of the book. Also, I can't recall a single end- or foot-note. I would have preferred the bibliography to be placed with each essay and that the text to have been supplemented with footnotes. But lest that criticism seem too harsh I will say that the authors achieved the monumental task of reducing the historical fact, and conjectures, of three centuries into eleven relatively short essays (including the Prologue and Epilogue) without losing too much.
Anthony Pagden's, "Prologue: Europe and the World Around" was particularly interesting to me. This essay covers how the ancient Greek and Roman worlds, and the coming of Christianity, influenced the Europeans conception of themselves and their relationships to others. It explains, if only superficially, the European sense of "unity" and the belief in the superiority of Western Civilization; I use superficial not in its negative sense but to mean "on or nor the surface" i.e. the scanty 28 pages devoted to the subject can only be a survey rather than a critical analysis.
The other essays in the book cover the life of the masses, war, religion, politics, and economics. Such a range of topics gives you a general sense of the times. And that is really the power of this book - a framework in which to locate other more intense readings on the particulars.Early Modern Europe: An Oxford History Overview
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