History of the Low Countries Paperback – 19 May 2006
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""This remarkable book is the first single-volume history available in English of the region from the Roman times to the present ... It successfully integrates recent scholarship [and] is well written throughout ... generously supplied with well-chosen maps, and illustrations ... it will appeal to general readers as well as scholars interested in this important region." ."History: Review of New Books
.".". a welcome addition to the historical literature on Belgium and the Netherlands, for ... there is no good one-volume history of the Low Countries available ... The chapters are written by some of the foremost specialists in their fields, and provide excellent summaries of our present views of the periods in question."."Dutch Crossing
""The editors ... should be congratulated for maintaining a very high degree of stylistic consistency ... I very much welcome an English-language translation of this important book."."Dietrich Orlow, Boston University
.".". eminently readable and ... solidly based in contemporary scholarship."."James D. Tracy, University of Minnesota"
About the Author
J. C. H. Blom is director of the Dutch State Institute for War Documentation , Amsterdam. E. Lamberts is Professor in Modern History at the University of Leuven, Belgium.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book presents important facts and trends in the history of the Netherlands and Belgium. Moreover, it is also illustrated by paintings of Flemish and Dutch artists, such as Brueghel and Rembrandt, numerous photos and maps.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The book gives a good overview of the history of the Low Countries, starting with the Kelts, Romans and invading Germans, covering the Bourgondian Age, the dominion of the Habsburgers, the struggle for freedom, the golden age, the changing relationships between what is now called Belgium and the Netherlands, the importance of the religion and tolerance, ending the description in the mid 1990's.
The book covers political history, but economic, social, cultural, and religious history as well. The language is clear, and no prior knowledge of this region, or its history is required. Four stars and not five, because the part dealing with the 20th century has less analytical qualities then the high standard set by the rest of the book.
At the end of this readable and engaging book you'll know more about Dutch en Belgium history then most inhabitants of these countries do, and you'll understand some of the basic concepts still strong in Dutch foreign policies, and some of the structural internal problems Belgium still faces today.
How could these two tiny countries have had any impact on the world. Isn't the conventional wisdom that there was the Roman Empire, then Charlemagne, then Spain/Portugal, then England/France, then the US/USSR?
Although this is a text book it is engaging and easy to read. The story is fascinating. I am now the local expert on the history of the Low Countries and their place in world history.
I echo the comment on the more lackluster presentation of the more recent material. My only other criticism deals with the graphics. While the text was translated the maps were not. Many of the city names were presented in Dutch or French and were not easily discernible. Also, there should have been more maps and they should have been comprehensive. During the Roman era the map looked like it might have been drawn by a Roman. As the borders changed repeated over the millennia it would have been helpful to have a consistent map somewhere in the book for reference and scale. Maybe the blobs presented are recognizable to native lowlanders they were not to me.
All the details are in this book. The early settlements, the influence of religion, trade opportunities, tapestry manufacture, water management innovation, and international banking, and the expansionist rivalries of Spain, France, and England all combine to catapult a tiny population into a world power.
I’ve toured Bruges, Brussels, Antwerp, and the Netherlands. The differences between Belgium and Holland are obvious and it was interesting to read why so many talented and upperclass people fled Belgium to live in the north. The Netherlands is loaded with canals and rivers and these became significant in trade, defense of the country, and caused the creation of a political structure that the U.S. copied in part.
The book is excellent at showing all the simultaneous factors that influenced the outturn of events. Many history books focus on dates, battles, and rulers. Instead this book reads like a story. Winning a battle does not win the war anymore than winning the war means you get your own way. I liked the simple explanations of why the Low Countries kept realigning themselves with France, England, and even Spain when these countries wanted to defeat them.
When I visited the docks at Hoorn and saw the sailing ships, I was impressed with the complexity of navigation, logistics, and financial transactions that made world trade possible. How these evolved is part of the story.
I found the difference in the appearance of churches that went from Catholic to Calvinist or Anabaptist striking. The book provides easy to understand explanations of the differences between religions and why this caused so many wars over centuries.
I’ve given you a glimpse into how fascinating the book is. You are bound to find eye-opening things for yourself.