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Consider a counter-factual or two. Would this book have been different had its author not have been immersed in the history of banking over the last few years? Would it have looked different had the author not been an active member of the Conservative party in the Thatcher years?
In many ways Russia is the touchstone of the twentieth century. Most of the main features of our troubled age have impinged on it more heavily than any other single country.
On the cusp of the new millenium, historians of Europe are already having trouble with the twentieth century.
The war between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia remains a subject of great fascination. The campaign clearly had a vital effect on the outcome of the Second World War as a whole. It was an historical drama with unpredictable turning points. And it was fought on an vast scale and with a correspondingly vast scale of casualties.
Russian historiography has been richly endowed with numerous topics of enduring interest such as the founding of the Kievan Russian State in the ninth century and its later demise, the Mongol conquest in 1236-40 and its consequences, the rise of the Muscovite state between 1300 and 1514, serfdom, Ivan the Terrible and his Oprichnina, Peter the Great and Westernization, the revolutions of 1
There is a sense in which, in the twentieth century, the history of Europe is the history of Germany: German history cannot be isolated from war, cold war, superpower conflict, European integration, and the developments of Germany's European neighbours to the west, east, north and south. for the twists and turns of its history have shaped the major moments in European history.
There are two qualities in Dr. Gildea’s book that are immediately apparent. The first is the sensible planning of the contents. Beginning with "The Crisis of Empire", the last chapter is "France in search of a world role". The second chapter is "Crisis in the state", balanced by the penultimate chapter, "The Republic of the Centre".
Bronislaw Geremek needs no introduction to the international community of historians. In 1995, at the last congress of the International Association of Historians, in Montreal the first plenary session was opened by an hour long video recorded with him, how he sees history being both its expert analyst and also a prominent actor in the past decades.
When it first appeared in hardback in 1994, John Rohl's remarkable collection of essays won the Wolfson History Prize. And clearly it deserved to. This is how history should be written--with lucidity and originality, displaying on every page the workings of an inquiring mind, one that has examined and re-examined all available sources to reach its own, independent conclusions.
Eric Hobsbawm has recently raised the question ‘Can wewrite the history of the Russian revolution?’. Coming from someone who has written a history of the twentieth century, of which the Russian revolution comprises a rather distant component, the question is somewhat unexpected.