Wednesday, 26 August 2015

The Shortest History of Europe by John Hirst

History lessons at school were uninspiring, as was school. So I've bought three books to remedy the situation.
After summarising the three books, I'll publish a conclusion, from the point of view of the majority. Unless you are very rich, this means you :)

The gist of this book is the three very different mindsets that characterise the major players in the evolution of Europe from ancient Greece to the present day.

The three mindsets are

1. the culture of Greece (City states, "democracy" excluding women and slaves, and learning);

2. The empire of Rome (trade, organisation, rule from above);

3. Germanic tribes (war is a natural state of affairs, illiteracy, no organisation)

In this short, entertaining and thought-provoking book, acclaimed historian John Hirst provides a fascinating exploration of the qualities that have made Europe a world-changing civilisation.

Starting with a rapid historical overview from the ancient Greeks to the present day (the 'shortest history' itself), Hirst goes on to explore in detail what makes Europe unique: its political evolution; the shaping influence of its linguistic boundaries; the crucial role played by power struggles between Pope and Emperor; and of course the great invasions and conquests that have transformed the continent.

Written with clarity, feeling and wit,The Shortest History of Europe is a tour-de-force: read in a single afternoon, it will be remembered for a lifetime - accessible education!

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