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Modern World History Circa 1450 to Present
The Age of Empire: 1875-1914
The Age of Empire
1875-1914
Paperback      ISBN: 0679721754

Erica Hobsbawm discusses the evolution of European economics, politics, arts, sciences, and cultural life from the height of the industrial revolution to the First World War. Hobsbawm combines vast erudition with a graceful prose style to re-create the epoch that laid the basis for the twentieth century.

Empire of Things: How We Became a World of Consumers, from the Fifteenth Century to the Twenty-First
Empire of Things
How We Became a World of Consumers, from the Fifteenth Century to the Twenty-First
Paperback      ISBN: 0062456342

What we consume has become a central--perhaps the central--feature of modern life. Our economies live or die by spending, we increasingly define ourselves by our possessions, and this ever-richer lifestyle has had an extraordinary impact on our planet. How have we come to live with so much stuff, and how has this changed the course of history?

In Empire of Things, Frank Trentmann unfolds the extraordinary story of our modern material world, from Renaissance Italy and late Ming China to today's global economy. While consumption is often portrayed as a recent American export, this monumental and richly detailed account shows that it is in fact a truly international phenomenon with a much longer and more diverse history. Trentmann traces the influence of trade and empire on tastes, as formerly exotic goods like coffee, tobacco, Indian cotton and Chinese porcelain conquered the world, and explores the growing demand for home furnishings, fashionable clothes and convenience that transformed private and public life. The nineteenth and twentieth centuries brought department stores, credit cards and advertising, but also the rise of the ethical shopper, new generational identities and, eventually, the resurgence of the Asian consumer.

With an eye to the present and future, Frank Trentmann provides a long view on the global challenges of our relentless pursuit of more--from waste and debt to stress and inequality. A masterpiece of research and storytelling many years in the making, Empire of Things recounts the epic history of the goods that have seduced, enriched and unsettled our lives over the past six hundred years.

Militant Anti-Fascism: A Hundred Years of Resistance
Militant Anti-Fascism
A Hundred Years of Resistance
Paperback      ISBN: 1849352038

Fascism is not a thing of the past. In this era of crisis and austerity, it is growing even stronger. The question is: How do we stop it?

According to M. Testa, the fight against it must be aggressive and unrelenting. Using a mixture of orthodox history, eyewitness accounts, and unflinching analysis, he makes the case for a resolutely militant anti-fascism, one that gives no quarter and tolerates no excuses. Unlike other partisan accounts of contemporary battles against fascism and ultra-nationalism, Militant Anti-Fascism takes us from proto-fascists in nineteenth-century Austria to modern-day street-fights in London, providing a broad context for its arguments and looking at numerous countries over a longer period of time. The result is both a serious historical study and a story of victory and struggle, past and present, designed to inspire and energize militants.

Lay aside, as M. Testa does, your faith in liberal, legislative, and state-approved approaches to today's fascist threat. Start by reading this provocative and unapologetic overview of militant anti-fascism and the strategies that have successfully confronted the far right when it has reappeared in its many guises.

M. Testa, undercover anti-fascist blogger, has analyzed the changing fortunes of the British far right since 2009. He has written for the anarchist magazine Freedom and is a member of the Anti-Fascist Network.


From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life : 1500 to the Present
From Dawn to Decadence
500 Years of Western Cultural Life : 1500 to the Present
Hardcover      ISBN: 0060175869

Highly regarded here and abroad for some thirty works of cultural history and criticism, master historian Jacques Barzun has now set down in one continuous narrative the sum of his discoveries and conclusions about the whole of Western culture since 1500.

In this account, Barzun describes what Western Man wrought from the Renaisance and Reformation down to the present in the double light of its own time and our pressing concerns. He introduces characters and incidents with his unusual literary style and grace, bringing to the fore those that have "Puritans as Democrats," "The Monarch's Revolution," "The Artist Prophet and Jester"--show the recurrent role of great themes throughout the eras.

The triumphs and defeats of five hundred years form an inspiring saga that modifies the current impression of one long tale of oppression by white European males. Women and their deeds are prominent, and freedom (even in sexual matters) is not an invention of the last decades. And when Barzun rates the present not as a culmination but a decline, he is in no way a prophet of doom. Instead, he shows decadence as the creative novelty that will burst forth--tomorrow or the next day.

Only after a lifetime of separate studies covering a broad territory could a writer create with such ease the synthesis displayed in this magnificent volume.

Europe and the People Without History
Europe and the People Without History
Paperback      ISBN: 0520048989

The intention of this work is to show that European expansion not only transformed the historical trajectory of non-European societies but also reconstituted the historical accounts of these societies before European intervention. It asserts that anthropology must pay more attention to history.

The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000
The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers
Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000
Paperback      ISBN: 0679720197

About national and international power in the "modern" or Post Renaissance period. Explains how the various powers have risen and fallen over the 5 centuries since the formation of the "new monarchies" in W. Europe.

Infernal Library
Infernal Library
Paperback      ISBN: 1250181607

"A mesmerizing study of books by despots great and small, from the familiar to the largely unknown."
--The Washington Post

A darkly humorous tour of "dictator literature" in the twentieth century, featuring the soul-killing prose and poetry of Hitler, Mao, and many more, which shows how books have sometimes shaped the world for the worse

Since the days of the Roman Empire dictators have written books. But in the twentieth-century despots enjoyed unprecedented print runs to (literally) captive audiences. The titans of the genre--Stalin, Mussolini, and Khomeini among them--produced theoretical works, spiritual manifestos, poetry, memoirs, and even the occasional romance novel and established a literary tradition of boundless tedium that continues to this day.

How did the production of literature become central to the running of regimes? What do these books reveal about the dictatorial soul? And how can books and literacy, most often viewed as inherently positive, cause immense and lasting harm? Putting daunting research to revelatory use, Daniel Kalder asks and brilliantly answers these questions.

Marshalled upon the beleaguered shelves of The Infernal Library are the books and commissioned works of the century's most notorious figures. Their words led to the deaths of millions. Their conviction in the significance of their own thoughts brooked no argument. It is perhaps no wonder then, as Kalder argues, that many dictators began their careers as writers.

Rethink: The Surprising History of New Ideas
Rethink
The Surprising History of New Ideas
Paperback      ISBN: 1501145614
An "engaging and enlightening" (The Wall Street Journal) argument that innovation and progress are often achieved by revisiting and retooling ideas from the past rather than starting from scratch--from Guardian columnist and contributor to The Atlantic, Stephen Poole.

Innovation is not always as innovative as it may seem. Rethink is the story of how old ideas that were mocked or ignored for centuries are now storming back to the cutting edge of science and technology, informing the way we lead our lives. This is the story of Lamarck and the modern-day epigeneticist whose research vindicated his mocked two hundred-year-old theory of evolution; of the return of cavalry use in the war in Afghanistan; of Tesla's bringing back the electric car; and of the cognitive scientists who made breakthroughs by turning to ancient Greek philosophy.

"An anecdote-rich tour through the centuries" (The New York Times), with examples from business to philosophy to science, Rethink shows what we can learn by revisiting old, discarded ideas and considering them from a novel perspective. From within all these rich anecdotes of overlooked ideas come good ones, helping us find new ways to think about ideas in our own time--including out-of-the-box proposals in the boardroom to grand projects for social and political change.

"Clever and entertaining...a thoughtful and thought-provoking book" (The Sunday Times, London), Rethink helps you see the world differently. Armed with this picture of the surprising evolution of ideas and their triumphant second lives, and in the bestselling tradition of Malcolm Gladwell, Poole's new approach to a familiar topic is fun, convincing, and brilliant--and offers a clear takeaway: if you want to affect the future, start by taking a look at the past.
A History of the Netherlands: From the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day
A History of the Netherlands
From the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day
Paperback      ISBN: 1472569598

Books offering an overview of Dutch history are few and far between in the English-speaking world. Friso Wielenga's A History of the Netherlands: From the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day fills this gap. It offers a modern, integrated outline of Dutch history from the period in which the country took shape as a geographical, administrative and political entity and undermines the presumption that Dutch history since the 16th century was characterised by political consensus and religious toleration. Domestic and foreign politics take pride of place, interwoven with the broad lines of economic and cultural developments, as Wielenga uses the Netherlands' geographical location and its international relations to better understand the partially tumultuous past and present of this small land on the North Sea.

A History of the Netherlands provides an authoritative, comprehensive in-depth survey and will be of great value to students of modern European history.

1616: The World in Motion
1616
The World in Motion
Hardcover      ISBN: 1582437742

The world of 1616 was a world of motion. Enormous galleons carrying silk and silver across the Pacific created the first true global economy, and the first international megacorporations were emerging as economic powers. In Europe, the deaths of Shakespeare and Cervantes marked the end of an era in literature, as the spirit of the Renaissance was giving way to new attitudes that would lead to the age of revolutions. Great changes were also taking place in East Asia, where the last native Chinese dynasty was entering its final years and Japan was beginning its long period of warrior rule. Artists there, as in many parts of the world, were rethinking their connections to ancient traditions and experimenting with new directions. Women everywhere were redefining their roles in family and society. Slave trading was relocating large numbers of people, while others were migrating in search of new opportunities. The first tourists, traveling not for trade or exploration but for personal fulfillment, were exploring this new globalized world.

Thomas Christensen illuminates this extravagant age by focusing on a single riotous year. Woven with color images and artwork from the period, 1616 tells the surprising tales of the men and women who set the world on its tumultuous course toward modernity.