“The book was largely interesting, but the author did tend to sometimes wander aimlessly about from subject to subject. Another annoying habit he had was that he'd sometimes provide a quote in a foreign language - French or German, usually - and not bother to translate it into English. Usually...”see full review » see other reviews »
“The book was largely interesting, but the author did tend to sometimes wander aimlessly about from subject to subject. Another annoying habit he had was that he'd sometimes provide a quote in a foreign language - French or German, usually - and not bother to translate it into English. Usually the quote was there to try and emphasise a point he was making. Sorry, but some of us that are reading a book in English can only understand English.
It's not quite the book that I was hoping for, nor the book that it really could have been. But it's by no means a bad book. It does provide many very interesting looks into fascinating parts of history.”
“First of all, please understand this book is not for the casual reader. I've read this book for the third time and I'm now just reviewing it. If it means anything to you, I really don't do much of re-watching movies and I certainly don't do much of re-reading of books, as they are so time consuming.
Understand this book is special, for more than one reason. 1) This book is a survey first and foremost of the European people. I would say that well over half of this book is devoted to learning what the ordinary man, woman, and child went through on a daily basis to keep from going hungry and thirsty. 2) This book is a survey of European history from 1648 at the end of the 30 Years War(s) to the end of the Treaty of the Congress of Vienna at the end of the second and final exile of Emperor Napoleon I. The chosen time frame is crucial to understand why this planet has shaped up the way it has in the past 98 years (since WWI).
If you want to know how life was in 1648 you will find that until 1800 the average human never travelled more than three miles from their point of coming into this world. Traveling a mear 20 miles would have cost two or three years in wages and would have taken two or three days with the likely hood of peril enroute. You will learn how waterways were flat out quicker, but they really didn't bridge the gap, pardon the pun. You will learn how women had their place, religion was strict for the first 100 years of this time, and you'll learn how trade and manufacturing evolved with capitalistic ideals.
The French hegemony will become apparent and you'll understand that the French Revolution wasn't contained within the borders of France; it erupted into a European War that last 23 years. That during that time 5,000,000 people would die because of war, which was as much as had died in the four years of WWI.
You will understand, as best as you will ever understand without a serious regimen of study, how Germany became what was by 1914.
Once you get to the three-quarters side of the book, you will understand why the author chose the name of the book as The Pursuit of Glory, because mainly Louis XIV had the idea that conquest was his Glory and he deserved Europe. After him, his heirs knew no different and the "French Revolution," which was started as a outcry from the common folk, simply did what just happened in Egypt and placed an even more conservative and more harsh regime in it's place which killed more, with the guillotine, than any regime before or after it.
My detraction with this book is simple. The only reason I won't give this author and this book five stars and only four is because this book is difficult to read and sometimes you put it down after reading a paragraph, because you have to absorb it. What is the solution? I don't know that there is a solution. The subject matter isn't JFK's Camelot and prose really doesn't lend itself to the subjects at hand. I've seen him change subject mid-paragraph and I think I have seen it mid-sentence.
I recommend this book to anyone wanting to understand Europe and why we are where we are today. I literally listen to the news and read the news paper differently today because of this book!”
“An incredibly thorough and broad look at the period, touching on everything from the main historical events (the war of the Spanish succession, the rise of Prussia, the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars) to the emergence of popular culture and public opinion (the coffee house and salons, the novel and symphonies along with fox hunting and badger tossing) and the changing intellectual climate (not only secular rationalism and the enlightenment, but also romanticism and religious revivalism).
A fascinating, eye-opening insight into the way things were...”
“A comprehensive look into the history of Europe during the period of 1648 - 1818. It goes into great detail and giving brief and concise explanations of why things happened the way they did including the important people, events, and forces that drove the late 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries.”Chris Leiker wrote this review Friday, February 12, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No