Buried deep within the endnotes of Joseph Eaton’s book is a wry comment on the art of reviewing by the 19th-century author Sydney Smith, ‘I never read a book before reviewing it; it prejudices a man so’ (p. 199, n. 32).
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.