Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vanished Kingdoms: stories not to forget, 25 Nov 2012
This review is from: Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe (Paperback)
History is written by the victors. So most likely the history about those who lost has been written from point of view of the victors.

The more wonderful it is that Norman Davies wrote `Vanished Kingdoms'. A book written from point of view of those countries that have lost and vanished. Long forgotten countries, areas we had not heard of, rings-a-bell stories, lots of maps, anecdotes, it is all there. Though you knew Burgundia? Think twice, and read the chapter about Burgundia. Taken from that chapter: "The discrepancies in these definitions are easily spotted. But it is distressing to see that their common characteristic lies in their immobility: they are all trying to tie the concept of Burgundy to a single locality. None grasps the key feature, namely that Burgundy was a movable feast."

The chapter or Aragon: the discover-the-world-area was in the hands of the Portuguese and Spain, right? But when the reader speaks about `Spain', the reader pictures the country as the country now is on the map of Europe. How different it was then. "Philip II was the first in history to use the title of `King of Spain.'" He was king from 1556 to 1598. Clear words. Oh, by the way, when were North and South America discovered?

One day republic Rusyn? Also from that chapter there are lessons to learn. "These attitudes about Eastern Europe have surfaced many times in the thinking of Western intellectuals. They are part of a widespread, but often unspoken assumption about Western superiority." I love it when I read lines like that. Some readers could complain about chapters about Eastern Europe. Especially people from the west should not forget that Eastern Europe is a part of Europe. History education in the west had the tendency to focus on the classical Greek & Roman History and on Western Europe.

It is not always an easy read. Forgotten names, places and old languages make it sometimes harder to read. One or two chapters are not too interesting. But in the end it is definitely worth it.
A big Praise for this book, to write about vanished kingdoms.
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