All posts tagged: History

A Short History of Europe 1600-1815: Search for a Reasonable World – Lisa Rosner and John Theibault

It isn’t difficult to find a good non-fiction book about the Middle Ages; nor is it difficult to find an equally good book about the Modern world, starting somewhere within eyeshot of the French Revolution, but a book about the period in between is a rarity. Enter “A Short History of Europe 1600-1815” by Lisa Rosner and John Theibault. Both authors are established in academic environments and have written other books regarding the in between era of European history, and it is their sound expertise and teaching experience that gives them the unique opportunity to introduce 215 years of history in 400 pages in a very reader-friendly way. Luckily, Rosner and Theibault (I love that name) don’t attempt to write a comprehensive history of the period, but provide an overview. In their own words: “Our goal is to be engaging for students, by giving ample coverage of personalities and events, while integrating insights from the last generation’s research on social and cultural history, including women’s history.” I would add that “A Short History of Europe …

Darfur – Julie Flint & Alex de Waal

A starving African child lulled into complacency by famine. That is my image regarding Darfur and its humanitarian crises together with a salute to my high school geography teacher, who placed a blank sheet of paper over the entire continent of Africa on the world map and told us, that this was how most Westerners perceived the world. How right she was, and that is the reason, there is a need for a book such as “Darfur” by Flint & de Waal with the catchphrase: a new history of a long war. Reading “Darfur” does not require any further knowledge that the sparing news coverage on the crises as the book includes introductory chapters regarding Sudan, the region Darfur and the people of Darfur, before focusing on the Sudanese government, the Janjawiid, the various rebel movements, the international reaction and the Abuja peace talks. My critic of “Darfur” is that it focuses almost completely on the political tug-of-war and not on the real life devastation of the conflict. The authors also make a side regard …

Viking Circular Strongholds

I recently read a wonderful little book about the period in which Denmark was founded (c. 600-1200) and while my review of the book is featured in a seperate blog entry (in Danish), I want to share just a little Danish history with you. Denmark is old kingdom with more history than I can fathom and despite its size, it plays and has historically played a dominate role in European and global politics. Back before Denmark was one united kingdom, the rulers were local chieftains, the belief system was Old Norse, and international commerce consisted of Viking raids and plunder in Great Britian and mainland Europe. During the time, when power was consolidated and Denmark become one or a few kingdoms, approximately five circular strongholds were built. The inner diametres were c. 135 metres and the houses were c. 30 metres long – massive constructions. What I find intriguing about these strongholds is that not much is known about them. Written sources from the period are pretty much non-existent and excavations have so far only …