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Europe: A History [Kindle Edition]

Norman Davies
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Review

"Books of real quality and importance are rare. Norman Davies's history of Europe is one of them. It is a brilliant achievement, written with intelligence, lucidity and a breathtaking width of knowledge... This is a book everyone should read" (A. C. Grayling Financial Times)

"A noble monument of scholarship, and all the more noble because it is so full of surprise and feeling... There are superb assessments of vastly daunting subjects" (Jan Morris Independent)

"Monumental, authoritative... A book for enquiring minds of all ages, it will answer hundreds of enquires and provoke thousands more" (Noel Malcolm Sunday Telegraph)

"No history of Europe in the English language has been so even-handed in its treatment of east and west... Strong characterisation, vivid detail, trenchant opinions, cogent anaylsis all make this tremendous reading" (Times Literary Supplement)

Book Description

Norman Davies' seminal biography of a whole continent; 'it brims with learning, crackles with common sense, coruscates with wit and abounds in good judgement' - Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Sunday Times

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 14051 KB
  • Print Length: 1392 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (30 Sept. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003ZDO8XE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #80,666 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable education... and entertaining too! 24 July 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
A history book as comprehensive as this one is obviously subject to thousands of criticisms from the different territorial, cultural, political,... perspectives. However, and I think here lays the tremendous value of the volume, I had never learnt so much about European history and the origins of Western civilization while at the same time enjoying thoroughly the style, the anecdotes, and continuous flow of events which are never isolated but shown as causes and effects of each other. If more of History could be told in such an entertaining tone, I think our overall education would be far superior.
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148 of 153 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The impression of a 15 year old... 21 Mar. 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
In a word? Superb. If you dont have time to read this review, and are in any way interested in the history of one of the most historically complex parts of the world, just go and buy it. Trust me...
If you have a bit more time, let me firstly present one point. If you are solely interested in the history of the dictators of the twentieth centuary, or the rise and fall of the Roman empire, dont buy this book. Because, as the author states in the introduction, it isnt attempting to give a highly specialised view of every section of european history. What it attemps to do, and suceeds admirably, is to provide the interested reader with a superb general overview of europe from the ice ages, right up to the present day. Dont for a second assume, however, that this book is a lightweight. It weighs in at over 1300 pages of small type, with lengthy appendices. Being only 15, (although I am keenly interested in history and reading), I was slightly unnerved by the appearance of this at my birthday. Could I remain interested for 1300+ pages? That night, I opened the first page and was hooked. The book is written in a clear, concise, engaging and genuinely interesting fasion, and it is obvious that the author has a genuine interest and passion for his subject, as im sure a lot of readers will have after completing this book. Simply, it is a classic. I will have it on my bookshelf for years, and hopefully for the rest of my life.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A goldmine of information! 25 May 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is one of the best I have ever read, simply because I cannot put it down. The immense amount of information is positively overwhelming: one gets a sense of the immensity of the changes that Europe has gone through, and the movements, ideas and struggled that have formed the continent, not only to what it is today, but also continues forming it today. I think every European should read this, because it gives an idea that Europe is the complex result of a history that does not stop at the borders of the individual nation-states of today, but that the interrelations have always existed.
The book may seem intimidating because of its sheer size and information, but I must admit that I was unable to put it down for long, and that many things I read just made me want to read more: I needed the internet and my library card to look up more information on the hundreds of subjects that I wanted to learn more abot.
These types of books are the greatest treasures you can have.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent within the constraints of the format 28 Mar. 2006
Format:Paperback
An enormous tome which I plodded through a few pages at a time and use to beat off muggers; a survey so surface-level that it leaves you gasping for more; a thoroughly enjoyable read. These statements seem contradictory but all apply to this book. This is as comprehensive as a single-volume history of Europe can manage to be, and yet it still but skims the surface of the story of this magnificently diverse and dynamic continent in which we are blessed to live.
Davies is a Poland specialist and he uses his knowledge of the country's intricacies to illuminate the experience of the whole continent; as indeed he does also with his native Oxfordshire. To my mind, this is a strength, rather than a weakness as long as one remembers that the specific often serves as an exemplar for the general. The contributions of small, historically peripheral and often forgotten parts of Europe are woven seamlessly into the weft of Davies' narrative - Ireland, Sicily, Latvia, Ukraine. Nor is the story of ideas, of economies and of science is not lost among the dreary procession of wars and dynasties.
There is also a useful set of maps and raw data contained in the appendices.
As for criticism, while any work of this sweep is going to have difficulty separating people and concepts in the minds of its readers, I find the procession of minor royal figures and complex webs of intermarriage in medieval times particularly difficult. Perhaps Davies could have set out more clearly who ruled where and when, and what the relationships between them.
Also, Davies finishes weakly after a strong book. Speculation is, naturally, mere speculation but Davies predictions for the future read too much like a senior common room conversation after a few glasses of wine.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Terrible Kindle edition 18 Jan. 2012
By LDNSE16
Format:Kindle Edition
For those who don't know, Davies' book is organised into reasonably long narrative chapters (eg Greece, Rome, etc) interspersed with smaller 'capsules' on specific people, places or contexts dotted around the text. I assume this works in the print editions with a different font or some other typographical element to mark them out as different. But ... the scanning for the Kindle edition is such that all such subtleties are lost. The capsules are spliced into the page in exactly the same sized font whenever they appear on the printed page.

In short, you're reading about Bulgaria under Ottoman rule, there is a capsule on the arrival of the Gypsies and then, without warning, we're back in the Balkans with the sentence "Serbia suffered the same fate". Click back a few pages and it makes sense, the same fate as Bulgaria, not the Gypsies - but this is no way to read a book of this length. On one occasion a numbered list from a medieval pope on how he should conduct himself is split in two by a capsule on the Hanseatic League (the numbered list resumes several pages later on point 22) while Shakespeare's "This scept'red isle" serves as two slices of bread to a sandwich with a capsule on quantitive history as its filling. I'm sure its not what either Davies or Shakespeare would have wanted. There are also numerous scanning-introduced typos such as 'poUtical' for 'political' and Louis XTV for Louis XIV. It's clearly not been proofread.

It's a shame because there is nothing wrong with the capsules, someone just needs to fix how they work in an ebook. The irony is that Davies, writing in the early 1990s, was clearly taken with ideas of hypertext that were to emerge through the world wide web and wrote the capsules with links to each other and from the narrative text.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Pages turned a musty colour from what I can see.
Published 2 days ago by Derek McDermott
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
nice
Published 1 month ago by Agnieszka Cudak
3.0 out of 5 stars Does a good job
I enjoyed this book in the sense that I learned quite a bit in terms of anecdotes that I was not aware of before. It is a good read and engagingly written. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mr. Nj Mcallister
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book great service
Fantastic book great service
Published 4 months ago by julie power
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Well received present - came well packaged.
Published 4 months ago by sussexlass
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy costumer
Had a few stains, but a reasonable price, so all together a great buy.
Published 4 months ago by karen Marie Kingo Hansen
5.0 out of 5 stars European history for Europeans
Excellent book. Written in truly European spirit, must be on the bookshelf of every European!
Published 5 months ago by R. Zavnik
4.0 out of 5 stars history of europe
I have to be honest, I havn't started this book yet, so can't really comment regarding it. I actually read a review which caught my eye and that's what made me buy it. Read more
Published 7 months ago by ailsa salton
5.0 out of 5 stars A captivating book with excellent observations about the history of...
This book presents a fascinating history of Europe. The book is peppered
with additional comments to make the reading even more interesting. Read more
Published 7 months ago by LCSG
5.0 out of 5 stars Exemplary scholarship
I sound this especially valuable as a concise reference for the major events leading up to the two world wars in the 20th century.
Published 8 months ago by Bob B
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