Europe: The Struggle for Supremacy, 1453 to the Present: A History of the Continent Since 1500 Hardcover – 4 Apr 2013
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Ought to sit on the desk of every politician, pundit and policy wonk ... [Simms] marshals the great events and grand strategies of the 550 years since the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks with a breath-stopping assurance. Panoramic, multi-faceted, his sweeping, well-paced narrative balances Paris and St Petersburg, London and Vienna (and not forgetting Washington), with awesome command. This is top-down European history, diplomatic and political, seen from the soaring eagle's eye. But what an eagle; and what an eye ... Simms offers a bracing corrective to anti-historical fantasies of a Britain unmoored from Continental fates (Boyd Tonkin Independent)
Brendan Simms is a historian of unusual range and ability ... this book is driven by two great master-ideas, and there is hardly a page in it where their presence is not felt ... the reader always has the exhilarating sense of moving swiftly onwards, in a kind of turbocharged Rolls-Royce of historical argumentation ... truly powerful and original (Noel Malcolm Telegraph)
Europe is a superb, sure-footed analysis of how this center of world civilization, technology, and warfare evolved since the fall of Constantinople in 1453. It is unabashedly political history, and the better for being so. Simms's acumen and sharp opinions are a joy to read. This book will be appreciated both by the general reader, and by history teachers everywhere (Paul Kennedy)
The broad perspectives of Brendan Simms's Europe: the Struggle for Supremacy [are] richly illuminating (Rupert Christiansen Telegraph BOOKS OF THE YEAR)
Brendan Simms's new history [is] especially timely. He has, in effect, dropped a big stone into the European pond and stood back to watch the ripples spread ... Compelling and provocative ... This is sweeping history, told with verve and panache, and it is all the more refreshing for that (Economist)
This is a brilliant and beautifully written history. From the Holy Roman Empire to the Euro, Brendan Simms shows that one of the constant preoccupations of Europeans has always been the geography, the power and the needs of Germany. Europe is a work of extraordinary scholarship delivered with the lightest of touches. It will be essential, absorbing reading for anyone trying to understand both the past and the present of one of the most productive and most dangerous continents on earth (William Shawcross)
A stimulating, impressive history that starts with the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453 and extends to the present day ... perspicacious and flexible ... an excellent read and its insights into the grand themes of European history are penetrating and lucidly argued (Tony Barber Financial Times)
Unrepentantly old-fashioned, lively and erudite ... The book is centrally concerned, rightly, with Germany, which Simms knows at first hand. Its great strength is that you are always reminded that European countries did not grow autonomously ... Europe is very ambitious in scope ... The references are prodigious, multilingual and extremely useful ... Simms knows what he is talking about (Norman Stone New Statesman)
How do you write a history of Europe ... without making it seem like a list of dates? The answer of Brendan Simms in his new book is both simple and brilliantly successful: take a strong thesis and argue it through from start to finish ... Simms has the breadth of knowledge and clarity of vision to make his case compelling. His book is also immensely entertaining as well as instructive. There are few pages not enlivened by sharp insight, telling vignette or memorable turn of phrase. In short, this is a great book and everyone interested in European history will want to read it (Tim Blanning BBC History Magazine)
There is nothing in the recent literature to match it ... Not only has Simms bitten off a huge chunk of history, he has mastered it with style and an awe-inspiring command of the literature ... [a] Herculean feat of synthesis (Josef Joffe Prospect)
About the Author
Brendan Simms is Professor of the History of International Relations at the University of Cambridge. His major books include Unfinest Hour: Britain and the Destruction of Bosnia (shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize) and Three Victories and a Defeat: The Rise and Fall of the First British Empire.
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Alas, the incompetence, venality, arrogance and complacence of its present leaders are no less than their predecessors. One can hardly be optimistic.
Europe: The struggle for supremacy, 1453 to the present is a masterful introduction to the subject of European nations vying for the balance of power.