A wise, illuminating little book' Sydney Morning Herald
'An entertaining, learned piece of historical compression' The Age
'Great stuff . . . the book as a whole is constantly thought-provoking' Courier Mail
'Beautifully and sparely constructed, yet rich in fact, feeling and detail -- sweeping, challenging and funny' James Button
'The balance of analysis and description, generalisation and specific instance, is beautifully maintained' ABR
Describing the birth of European civilisation from an unlikely mixture of three elements - classical learning, Christianity and German warrior culture - The Shortest History of Europe begins with a rapid historical overview from the ancient Greeks to the dawn of the modern era.
In each later chapter, the author returns to explore in more detail one aspect of Europe's remarkable history: its political evolution; its linguistic boundaries and their defining influence; the crucial role played by power struggles between Pope and Emperor; and the great invasions and conquests that have transformed the continent. Along the way we meet a cast of highly distinctive characters, from pious knights to belligerent popes, from German romanti spouting folklore to French revolutionaries imitating their Roman heroes.
Written with clarity, feeling and wit, The Shortest History of Europe is a tour-de-force of compression: it will be read in an afternoon, but remembered for a lifetime.