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Only slightly detracted from my enjoyment of the book WHEN THE BOOK MAKES IT TO THE 20TH CENTURY the book makes it to the 20th century strategy and wars that I sense Simms actually wanted to write about the treatment is excellent He effortlessly dips back and forth between domestic politics and the international struggle of what feels like dozens of countries He expertly manages to incorporate the planet wide conflicts that mattered while sticking to his focus on the struggle for the European continent The I think about the feat the impressed I am It s an almost year by year recounting of world events in the 20th century and it s never boring or flabby He s got two points that he hammers home repeatedly One is the way that foreign policy drove all manner of domestic changes from administrative reform to social legislation and the Second is the centrality of the struggle to control Germany the European heartland over the entire period discussed These are perhaps not the most ambitious of points but they are proven well His narrative of the World Wars and the Cold War is just fantastic The problems come after the Cold War ends The timbre of the narrative changes dramatically Our sober guide to history s greatest horrors and triumphs disappears Every minor reversal and savage little cold war hangover is described as a colossal and or massive crisis The continued failure of the European public to take an interest in military aggrandizement and defense spending is lamented in frankly ludicrous terms Here let me uote a bit the European peoples had failed even in this hour of crisis to assert their right to participate in the defense of their common had failed even in this hour of crisis to assert their right to participate in the defense of their common and security The crisis he s referring to is I assume either Russia s ridiculous little war with Georgia or the financial crisis that took place in 2008 It s hard to see how defense spending would have helped with the financial crisis and it s uite easy to see exactly how the NATO saber rattling Simms wants of led to the war between Russia and Georgia The point he s missing is this The pacification of Europe accomplished at tremendous cost and existential risk to human civilization is one of mankind s greatest victories I made a video on it once The fact that most of the European public now cares about uality of life than the petty grandeur of illing the folks the next country over is something to be celebrated My sense is that like many in the academic branch of the military industrial complex he sees a waning interest in grand strategy and geopolitics as a threat to his job security or perhaps important if less tangible his job significance I d imagine that seat at Cambridge is pretty secure Unlike many of his ilk Simms does at least acknowledge that Russia expected NATO expansion to stop with Germany after it allowed the USSR to collapse He acknowledges it with one sentence It s probably the shortest sentence in the book The closing pages then lovingly chronicle NATO s relentless expansion in tandem with the far useful and benign European Union with essentially zero analysis or explanation of why this should be so and why these organizations are so uselessly but seemingly irrevocably connected Here s a helpful vid on how NATO started the crisis in Ukraine NATO are our guys so Russia couldn t possibly have a legitimate objection to the expansion to its borders of world history s most powerful military organization an organization founded explicitly to combat Russia Objective history is impossible but this degree of partisanship is just too much I would have perhaps forgiven this unfortunately common affliction if it weren t for the ridiculousness of the book s final sentences Keep in mind that in the run up to World War I the cataclysm that started off Europe s horrific 20th century the European people marched eagerly off to war To be sure there was all manner of manipulation by elites but much of the continent really believed that the war was right and good and their side their national blood and steel would prevail This is how Simms closes the book referring to the present day In short at the start of the third decade of the second millennium sic he ain t talking about 1021 Europeans were no less preoccupied by how the vital space at the heart of the continent was to be organized than they had been in times gone by The German uestion eclipsed for than a decade after unification was backThat s simply not true Angst over a financial management is not the urge to march off and blow somebody up That s not history. Ally been the richest and most productive on earth For hundreds of years its crucial strategic importance stoked a seemingly unending series of conflicts from the English Civil War to the French Revolution to the appalling world wars of the 20th century But when Europe is in harmony Simms shows the entire world benefits a lesson that current leaders would do well to remember A bold and compelling work by a renowned scholar Europe integrates religion politics military strategy and international relations to show how history and Western civilization itself was forged in the crucible of Euro. ,


The book reviews 500 years of European geo political and military history chronologically and in exhausting factual detail albeit without really enough detail on any area or period to fully understand what was goin This book is not for the weak This book is a 700 year epic that is split up into only 8 chapters and 535 pages of actual content about 200 of them are notes and the index Because of this power dynamic the information inside each chapter is heavy and really reuires a background nowledge in each of the 8 eras that are being described Mr Simms has packed in A LOT OF DATES WARS ALLIANCES lot of dates wars alliances names within each chapter that it can be hard to eep track of especially in the early chapters I am of a fan and scholar of modern history for both world and US American Revolution to present The first 3 or 4 chapters were a bit difficult to understand but then the last 4 were easy because I have prior Charming the Firefighter (In Shady Grove, knowledge in the events I would not read this book if you want an introduction to the history of the continent because this reads like a college level textbook Besides the content part this book could have easily been split up into than 8 chapters Reading almost 70 100 pages of in depth European History can be very exhausting and would probably draw a casual reader of history to this book Also the timeline of events can be very sporadic and get out of hand He can be talking about something that happened in 1593 for example and then on the next page talk about a series of wars that lasted from 1575 1586 It can get very confusing then for readers who are not as well schooled on the period that he covers Overall an ambitious project but there are better books of European history that can attract the casual fan to the topic There are two major theses in this book One is presented right at the outset due to its central position and massive potential he who controls Germany dominates Europe For the first part of this book the active powers deliberately prevent anyone including the Germans from controlling Germany in order to maintain the balance From 1870 1944 however Germany is unified and attempts to prove that a dominating Germany dominates Europe and was prevented from doing so only at great cost Then of course Germany is divided again and becomes the most important front of the Cold War After the fall of the Berlin Wall the book sort of peters out it s difficult to do a whole lot of analysis on recent history but the centrality of Germany to the EU is obvious even if some of the other discussion of the last 20 years may not beThe second theses moving beyond geography is history is that foreign policy drives social and economic changes in the name of being efficient for the next war Sometimes this resulted in democracy sometimes in absolutism or autocracy but the goal was always to be strong enough to win usually in against or as Germany This is perhaps than a bit reductionist but the author does a fairly good job of arguing for it It also explains the heavy focus on international relations which shouldn t be surprising given the title and the short shrift given to the rest of history from 1453My major uibble with the book is that when European politics goes global some parts of the non European map get a lot of focus and some are almost completely ignored Japan for instance is barely mentioned before or after the Russo Japanese War of 1905 and China is largely ignored outside of it being a pain to Khruschev in the 1950s Meanwhile we get a surprisingly detailed amount of Afghan politics and Middle Eastern and Jewish foreign relations generally Current events and all but it s a bit weird given the wide scope of the book In this impressive survey of European power politics since the fall of Constantinople Brendan Simms builds on a theme familiar from his earlier works on Prussia the primacy of foreign policy over domestic politics However the main thread running through the book is the thesis that the German speaking lands of central Europe are theey to the balance of power on the continent and in the wider worldAt the outset Simms puts forward the argument that the Holy Roman Empire and its successor states have been the principal source of political legitimacy for anybody who wants to speak for Europe Conseuently his interpretation of every major conflict in European history over the last 500 years is made through a German prism The Treaty of Westphalia 1648 which brought an end to the Thirty Years War is seen not so much as What is. If there is a fundamental truth of geopolitics it is this whoever controls the core of Europe controls the entire continent and whoever controls all of Europe can dominate the world Over the past five centuries a rotating cast of Making India Work kings and conuerors presidents and dictators have set their sights on the European heartland desperate to seize this pivotal area or at least prevent it from falling into the wrong hands From Charles V and Napoleon to Bismarck and Cromwell from Hitler and Stalin to Roosevelt and Gorbachev nearly all theey power players of modern history have staked their titani.

Brendan Simms Ë 1 SUMMARY

The most important part of Europe over which control must be exerted to maintain peace democracy and prosperityThis book is over which control must be exerted to maintain peace democracy and prosperityThis book is monster to read 535 pages of small print denser to read than the average insurance document To be honest it has taken me ages to read it I can manage about three pages at a time before my head swims and I have to put it down Thank the gods for my habit of reading than one book at a time there have been occasions when I became so bogged down in European geopolitics That I Wanted To I wanted to up reading thisBrendan Peter Simms is an Irish historian and Professo I thought this book was uite interesting however I object to Pancho Villa being considered a warlord It was a bit to pro American and finding fault with the Soviet than WWII Germany and there were other issues The Soviet Union in short did not have a military industrial complex like the United States it was a military industrial complex This brilliantly placed line signifies the book s ability to spark off vivid understandings of Europe s various historical situations It is a thoughtful and fair minded piece of work usually fast paced and often exhilarating sometimes sloggy overall seeming to make the most of its material It has an argument a carefully trained perspective and I m sure anybody would learn a great deal from it while having some moments of real pleasure along the way Simms captures Europe as an entity in the midst of history wilfully perceiving centuries of twists and turns through the filters associated with currentrecent issuesCriticismsThere are a couple of overbearing issues with the style Early on there is some awkward seemingly unedited diction and syntax There are even instances of elementary mistakes which even a total novice like me can spot like referring to the Dutch Estates General which is the French term or saying that Baldwin was the leader of the opposition in 1934 And throughout paragraphs begin with either The real issue was not insert event but Germany and the whole balance of power or This international development had a profound effect on domestic politics in many countries I like repetition of ideas because it ingrains the essential message of such a long book and shows self confidence But this is far too much and that becomes apparent early on There are also moments when Simms clearly over eggs the primacy of foreign policy for example declaring that the British revolution was entirely a function of the debate around participation in the European wars Finally the book inevitably struggles with the breadth and depth of such a vast and intricate period of history Even though it is massively lopsided towards the final 100 years some areas are list like and don t leave much impression or understanding There are some other issues but no one interested in the topic or attracted by the idea of the book should really be discouraged If you re still uncertain let one or two of Simms s genius pieces for the New Statesman convince you particularly An immersive story of the last 500 years of European conflicts and interlaced eventsEven tough the author seems a bit obsessed by the German role in most of the important developments of recent history I strongly believe this remains an amazing read I would have also loved a thorough approach of contemporary issues The copy I read was some 530 pages making it almost 550 years in 550 pages An excellent book I now understand the significance of the Holy Roman Empire than I ever did beforeSimms s A lot of learning can be a dangerous thing This is the second recent sweeping history of war and Europe that I ve enjoyed thoroughly until the closing pages As with Ian Morris s War What is it good for roughly 90% of this book would have received a 4 or even 5 star rating The problem comes at the end when these learned historians of completely different styles and levels of seriousness attempt to apply their nowledge to the present day and just miss the point entirely Before my massive problem one small uibble The book is billed as telling the story from 1453 to the present In fact the first four and a half centuries are done with by the halfway point I would have enjoyed coverage of those earlier years that birthed the nation state system and so much of what we consider modern Europe The narrative throughout was readable detailed and enjoyable There is of course vastly information of contemporary relevance the closer you get to the present day but I felt a bit cheated Like I said a uibble and it. C visions on this vital swath of land In Europe prizewinning historian Brendan Simms presents an authoritative account of the past half millennium of European history demonstrating how the battle for mastery there has shaped the modern world Beginning in 1453 when the collapse of the Byzantine Empire laid Europe open to Ottoman incursion and prompted the dramatic expansion of the Holy Roman Empire Simms leads readers through the epic struggle for the heart of Europe Stretching from the Low Countries through Germany and into the North Italian plain this relatively compact zone has historic. .

The Alienist (Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, The Tournament In England, 1100-1400
Europe The Struggle for Supremacy 1453 to the Present

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