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Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Norman Davies

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5891416,710 (4)23
Member:elimatta
Title:Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe
Authors:Norman Davies
Info:Penguin (2012), Paperback, 848 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:History

Work details

Vanished Kingdoms: The Rise and Fall of States and Nations by Norman Davies (2011)

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English (12)  Polish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (14)
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
A masterly tome, "Vanished Kingdoms" only misses a five star rating due to its promise to deliver so much that one feels that it couldn't possibly deliver.

One of the review quotes listed on the back cover of “Vanished Kingdoms” is from the “San Francisco Chronicle” and reads ‘The amount of information in ‘Vanished Kingdoms’ that will be new to all but the most expert students of European history is staggering.’ In fact, this is almost a liability as I was constantly referring to our friend ‘Wikipedia’ to understand who, for example, Wilfred the Hairy, was when he was at home, and what is this “Sicilian Vespers” of which Davies refers to?

I also found the choice of subjects to be somewhat arbitrary, as well as the extent each is covered. These quibbles aside though, I can only hope Davies is planning a sequel to bring to life more vanished kingdoms. ( )
1 vote MiaCulpa | Aug 5, 2014 |
This is a wonderful book! Davies surveys the histories of a number of european states that died, including Aragon, Burgundy, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and "the Kingdom of the Rock," a kingdom that existed in the early Medieval period in what is now southwest Scotland. Never have I found a book containing so much obscure history that is so strongly related to the history that I have studied through most of my life. He also discusses the theory of the death of states, which is interesting in itself. ( )
1 vote baobab | Aug 1, 2014 |
Still a bit mystified by the inclusion of Eire, and a bit disappointed not to get more of Byzantium, but overall informed and entertained by this collection. ( )
1 vote sloopjonb | May 24, 2014 |
"This too shal pass". Impressive history of states, some insignificant, some most powerful, some small, some covering a huge area - but all of them extinct. From an almost forgotten Celtic kingdom in the early Middle Ages to the demise of the USSR, Davies describes their apogee and end with clarity and insight. States may implode, explode, be conquered or meet another end (Davies seems quite convinced that the days of the United Kingdom are numbered, too). There is a slight emphasis on Eastern Europe (Prussia, Galicia, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Estonia) since that is Davies' specialisation, but that makes this history only more interesting. Recommended for anyone interested in European history. ( )
1 vote fist | May 15, 2014 |
Excellent book. An absolute must for everybody who needs or wants to understand European history. Especially recommended for EU civil servants and diplomats serving in Europe. ( )
1 vote Hiensch | Aug 10, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (29 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Norman Daviesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pagano, FrancescoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Payette, MaggieCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
I'r anghofiedig
Dla tych, o których historycy przeważnie zapominają
I'r anghofiedig

For those whom historians tend to forget
First words
(from Introduction)

All my life, I have been intrigued by the gap between appearances and reality. Things are never quite what they seem. I was born a subject of the British Empire, abd as a child, read in my Children's Encyclopaedia that 'our empire' was one 'on which the sun never set'.
Quotations
All the nations that have ever lived have left their footsteps in the sand. The traces fade with every tide, the echoes grow faint, the images are fractured, the human material is atomized and recycled. But if we know where to look, there is always a remnant, a remainder, an irreducible residue. (p.393)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Contents:
Tolosa : soujourn of the Visigoths (AD 418-507) --
Alt Clud : Kingdom of the Rock (fifth to twelfth centuries) --
Burgundia : five, six, or seven kingdoms (c. 411-1795) --
Aragon : a Mediterranean empire (1137-1714) --
Litva : a grand duchy with kings (1253-1795) --
Byzantion : the star-lit golden bough (330-1453) --
Borussia : watery land of the Prusai (1230-1945) --
Sabaudia : The house that Humbert built (1033-1946) --
Galicia : kingdom of the naked and starving (1773-1918) --
Etruria : French snake in the Tuscan grass (1801-14) --
Rosenau : the loved and unwonted legacy (1826-1918) --
Tsernagora : Kingdom of the Black Mountain (1910-1918) --
Rusyn : the republic of one day (15 March 1939) --
Éire : The unconscionable tempo of the Crown's retreat (1916-2011) --
CCCP : the ultimate vanishing act (1924-1991) --
How states die.
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Chronicles the history of fourteen lost European kingdoms and what their stories can teach the modern world, providing narrative accounts of the rise and fall of nations ranging from Tolosa to the Soviet Union.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 1846143381, 0141048867

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