M. Baerends

Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,536
Helpful votes received on reviews: 89% (338 of 378)


Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,536 - Total Helpful Votes: 338 of 378
White Gold: The Extraordinary Story of Thomas Pell&hellip by Giles Milton
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Phenomenal story about 12 year old sailor Thomas Pellow who was captured by corsairs from Sale in 1716. After being brutally tortured he converts to islam and is lucky enough to survive and even climb up the slippery career ladder at the crazy court of Moulay Ismail, Morocco's thoroughly deranged, sadistic leader at the time. This gentleman needed an endless supply of white slaves as he wanted to outdo Louis XIV in palace building. At the cost of horrendous mortality among the white slaves this was in fact achieved as the Meknes palace complex became the biggest in the world. Sadly, few contemporaries could properly enjoy it given the state of nearly continuous civil war in Morocco after… Read more
Three Victories and a Defeat: The Rise and Fall of&hellip by Brendan Simms
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars diplomatic history, 15 July 2014
A comprehensive diplomatic history of most of the 18th century, from a British perspective. Mr. Simms' main thesis is that Britain's rise to great power status during this period was predicated on Britain's ability to use alliances with European powers to its advantage. By investing military effort and/or monetary resources (subisidies) in its alliances on the continent, Britain was able to tie up its main adversary France in land war, which was crucial to enabling Britain to dominate on sea. This analysis debunks the general belief that its continental partners (including the Hannoverian Personal Union) were merely a drain on resources. In fact, they were a crucial force multiplier that… Read more
The Thirty Years War (New York Review Books Classi&hellip by Anthony Grafton
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Written in the late 1930s by the then very youthful Veronica Wedgood, this is probably still one of the best books to read about the 30 Years War. In my opinion, she got the balance exactly right, expanding sufficiently into all sorts of 'sidelines' (Bethlen Gabor and his invasions from Transsylvania, the Italian theater, the link with the Dutch 80 Years War) but still keeping the book well focused and compact. I very much liked her 'old-fashioned' (in the positive sense) writing style, including her moralistic (but mostly fair) judgements of the main decision makers. In line with pretty much any other book about this war, there is a bit of an imbalance in coverage between say the first 15… Read more