By Mark Mazower
"A important, very important ebook that reminds us, on the correct time, how not easy [European solidarity] has been, and what sort of care needs to be taken to prevent the poor outdated temptations." --Los Angeles Times
Dark Continent presents an alternate background of the 20th century, one during which the triumph of democracy was once whatever yet a forgone end and fascism and communism supplied rival political suggestions that battled and infrequently triumphed with the intention to make certain the direction the continent may take.
Mark Mazower strips away myths that experience comforted us because international warfare II, revealing Europe as an entity continuously engaged in a bloody venture of self-invention. Here is a background now not of inevitable victories and ahead marches, yet of slim squeaks and unforeseen twists, the place townships boast a bronze of Mussolini on horseback one second, merely to soften it down and recast it as a couple of noble partisans the next. Unflinching, clever, Dark Continent offers a provocative imaginative and prescient of Europ's previous, current, and future-and confirms Mark Mazower as a historian of worthwhile presents.
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Definitely few books are as formidable to the would-be reader because the Cambridge histories (and there are many them, together with Medieval, old, chinese language, heritage of Christianity, of Judaism, and so on. ) The sheer dimension of the works is horrifying . .. in the beginning.
The intrepid reader, although, quickly discovers that those large stories are literally more straightforward to take in than it will possibly look at the start look. the most cause is they are dependent as a chain of brief essays (15-35 pages every one) on person themes or realms of the interval being surveyed. each one essay is written by way of a distinct writer (though a couple of look greater than as soon as) and it truly is completely possible to learn only one bankruptcy an afternoon and enhance an excellent figuring out of the subject being mentioned. the total Medieval historical past can hence be learn over a number of years at a really leisurely pace.
The type is necessarily educational, and the paintings is hardly ever a mystery. nonetheless, the wording is generally based, the prose is delicate, and the books flows agreeably adequate. in my opinion, the single chapters which are a bit indigestible are these facing the very earliest sessions of every quarter, as the discussions unavoidably revolve round archaeological is still and there's hardly ever any narrative in any respect. this can be a disgrace, simply because these are precisely the chapters that readers first stumble throughout (if they learn the works in chronological order), so i might discourage such an strategy, a minimum of for the traditional background. within the Medieval heritage, besides the fact that, there isn't any such challenge. Even in quantity 1 the reader is thrown instantly into the motion, on the element the place the Romans are slowly being changed in Europe via Goths, Franks, Saxons, and so forth. the tale is engrossing (if you love the center ages).
In phrases of content material, the paintings is actually authoritative. each contributor is a professional of their box, and so much (if no longer all) chorus from offering debatable theses (after all, they be aware of their phrases should be uncovered to feedback via all of the most sensible historians within the world). as a substitute, they're cautious to assert what's identified for yes, what's speculative, and what is still decided. in brief, the Cambridge Histories should be depended on as a customary reference for any interval and geography they hide. Even within the house of such a lot of pages, they not often conceal all there's to inform, yet they do a good activity of directory lots of secondary works and references.
A fairly friendly element (in my view) of how such a lot sessions are mentioned within the Histories, is that the authors do not simply describe the occasions which are believed to have taken position, but in addition speak about the consequences and context of such occasions. additionally they point out the new adjustments on account that new findings have elicited (when appropriate) and discuss our figuring out of the interval in most cases and what debates have taken or are occurring surrounding the civilizations being surveyed. In different phrases, the Cambridge Histories usually are not only a sturdy resource for evidence or widely held ideals, but additionally a very good position to benefit why historians understand what they understand, why they think what they think (or don't), and why the learn of background is a dwelling, altering self-discipline, instead of the fossilized pile of chronologies that many of us nonetheless reflect on it to be.
Heikki Mikkeli charts the heritage of the assumption of Europe and ecu identification. the 1st half introduces many of the makes an attempt to unify Europe from antiquity to the ecu Union. within the moment half the connection of Europe with the United States and Russia is taken into account, in addition to the ambivalent position of valuable Europe.
In trade earlier than Capitalism in Europe, 1300-1600, Martha C. Howell demanding situations dominant interpretations of the connection among the so-called advertisement revolution of overdue medieval Europe and the capitalist age that undefined. Howell argues that the retailers, shopkeepers, artisans, and shoppers in towns and courts all through Western Europe, even within the densely urbanized Low international locations which are the focus of this research, have been under no circumstances proto-capitalist and didn't ponder their estate a fungible asset.
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Additional info for Dark Continent: Europe's Twentieth Century
41 on the 1743 list, Bjerregaard responded that the large number of barrows in Lardal ‘makes it reasonable to believe that in heathen times, people of distinction have lived here’. This assumption lay behind the opening of the mounds and was the reason he expected them to contain ‘relics’ (Røgeberg 2003–05 3: 403). It was also the reason for his disappointment: the nobility of the past had not left behind any artefacts equivalent to their social standing. Others had been luckier, though. Bjerregaard notes that some years earlier, a heavy golden ring had been found and sold for the value of 6 Riksdaler (a sum more than sufficient to buy a cow).
In some versions, the man who has been buried in the mound proffers the horn, making it quite clear that it is ancient and very literally belongs to ‘the ancestors’. In Wiel’s version, the mound is populated by fairies, which relates the legend to other stories about costly objects won from them. According to popular tradition, the fairies lived their lives much in the same way as humans, but underground, in mountains, rocks and mounds. Their realm was dark and hidden. Fairies frequently sought contact with humans, for instance through marriage or the exchange of one of their own children for a human.
Their realm was dark and hidden. Fairies frequently sought contact with humans, for instance through marriage or the exchange of one of their own children for a human. In Search of Ancient Heroes • 41 Such contact was always perilous to humans – the risk was to lose one’s own healthy child or to be charmed by a supranatural suitor and carried away to his or her dark abode forever (Solheim 1952). The Norwegian word for being spellbound – bergtatt – literally means ‘taken into the hill’. In Wiel’s legend, the supranatural danger is the drink that burns the horse’s tail.