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Early Modern Europe, 1450-1789 (Cambridge History of Europe) Paperback – 6 Mar 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 510 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (6 Mar. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521005213
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521005210
  • Product Dimensions: 17.7 x 2.9 x 25.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 138,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'Merry Wiesner-Hanks' admirably up-to-date survey of early modern Europe succeeds in fulfilling a very challenging remit just about as well as one could wish. Its thematic structure, with a threaded narrative as required, represents the best way of imposing order and coherence on what can be an intractable mass of themes, problems, and divergent national histories. The difficult task of balancing breadth with depth is accomplished skilfully, and the text is particularly strong on gender and social relations. Students will undoubtedly appreciate its accessible unaffected style, as well as its range of well chosen (and often pleasingly unfamiliar) visual sources.' Peter Marshall, University of Warwick

'This impressive synthesis consolidates Merry Wiesner-Hanks' reputation as a master synthesizer of early modern European history. In thirteen thematic chapters she manages to infuse all the usual topics with fresh life, while seamlessly incorporating recent advances in gender history, global connections, and cultural analysis. She refers, when needed, to controversial historical interpretations and punctuates her text with brief, strategically-placed, source documents. This will be a useful account for anyone interested in the period, and its clear prose will be accessible even to entry-level students.' William Beik, Emory University

'Its structure is intended to present a student friendly format … Visitors to [the] excellent website can not only discover all the relevant details but may also download a sample chapter … Her discussion and ensuing definitions are enlightening … Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks is of the opinion that she has written a book not the book on her subject; I think she is too modest, there is very little reason why this book should not be considered the seminal work for A level and first year under-graduates … she resists the temptation to present merely the narrative but deals with the arguments and perspectives of historians both past and present … this is a book to keep by you and dip in and out at will; the trouble is once you start dipping it's hard to stop.' The Journal of the Open University History Society

'… indispensable works of the synthesis and as original interpretation of the European past … her heart beats for the role of women in history … She has a good writing style. Each reader is encouraged to think about continuities as well as changes across this formative period. Her further readings to each chapter invites the reader to become absorbed in special books to the subjects.' The European Legacy

'As an introductory survey of European history from the invention of the printing press to the French Revolution, it admirably synthesizes an immense array of disparate themes and approaches while maintaining reader attention … Throughout, Wiesner's style is engaging and intentionally accessible to the current generation of students.' Dwight E. R. Ten Huisen, H-German

Book Description

Covering European history from the printing press to the French Revolution, this accessible and engaging textbook offers an innovative account of people's lives in the early modern period. Throughout the text maps, illustrations, timelines, and textboxes illuminate the narrative, with online resources including further primary source material.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By P. P. Marlow on 29 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
I'm a university student studying history and I have been using this book throughout my early modern Europe module.
There is a lot of information in this and it is very clearly set out, with titles and headers directing you to the relevant material quickly. There is a companion website that goes with it as well, which provides valuable primary sources and useful website links sorted by subject. Hopefully more textbooks will begin to do this as it is a fantastic way of accessing information easily (and without having to go to the library!). It must also be noted that the author is a social historian and it shows in what information is included in the book (individuals in society, cultural stuff, etc.) as well as the angle that is taken.
On more than one occasion, however, I have found that this book does not contain the information that I need and I have had to revert to the better book on the period, Kumin's 'The European World 1500-1800'. This contains far more information presented in a concise way. Another problem with this book is that it splits it's information into two time periods for little apparent reason. This hinders many attempts at searching the book if you are unsure of the date that the event took place or if you would just like an overview of what happened during the period, something that I thought a textbook was for anyway.

Overall, the book contains a good deal of information with a brilliant companion site, but I would suggest Kumin's book due to it's superior structure and content.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on 30 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
I felt this book fell short of the mark for a few reasons.

1) It divides the early modern period into just 2 periods (1450-1600 and 1600-1789) By treating the early modern period as a game of two halves it makes it difficult to get a useful sense of chronology as the themes are discussed.

2) It offers a strange over-emphasis on gender issues. Considerable space is given over to gender politics within every theme discussed. This to the point that one might want to subtitle the book "Gender in Early Modern Europe". For all of that, students wishing to focus on gender issues would find the book a very useful companion. Other students, however, might find that the discussions tend to get bogged down by this emphasis on gender, and be left still struggling to understand some of the other important issues they were hoping the book would explain.

3) Wiesner-Hanks quite rightly aims to cover the political siutation all over Europe up to and including the Ottoman empire. However, the approach she uses to achieve this is not the best. Whilst (as noted above) her discussions take place within 2 very broad time frames, she sub-divides chapters into several small geographical regions such as 'France', 'Central Europe', etc. Given that political units in this period were dynastic and shifting, this approach is not the clearest way.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Zob on 30 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent introduction to the Early-Modern period in Europe. It was recommended reading for a module in the first year of my History degree. It examines the period thematically - Europe in the World, Individuals in Society, Politics and Power, Cultural and Intellectual life, Religious Reform and Consolidation and Economics and Technology. As you'd expect, there's not a great deal of detail in this text-book, but that's not it's purpose, it's a general introduction to lead to further reading.

This title shoud be more than adequate for any University 1st year 'Early-Modern' course.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By C. Christie on 31 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
I just started University September 2009 and this book was included on my booklist. Although it does not go into a lot of detail like specific books on certain topics do, it does give a good overview of subjects you might be studying at first year University level or even Alevel. It helped make my univesity subjects a lot clearer and allowed me to confidently go on to read harder and more in depth texts. It is perfect if your about to start a new topic in lessons and you need a quick reminder or introduction so as to be on the ball with things. Clear and easy to understand, well written and an enjoyable read to the extent that I often find I am reading chapters just for fun and curiosity.
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