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How did the world of nation-states come about? What happened to the world of empires that preceded it? How did the transition take place and how inevitable was it? These may seem (and indeed are) old questions.
For many of us, the ongoing carnage in Syria is a self-evident humanitarian crisis. We do not need to be convinced that the children drowning at sea, the women and men, young and old, begging for entry into any country that will accept them are worthy of our help.
Mary Laven has established herself as a competent historian, writing on a variety of aspects centred on the Venetian Renaissance. The present book is the first contribution to take her out of Europe, at least in geographical terms.