Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe

Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe

Norman Davies / Sep 15, 2019

Vanished Kingdoms The History of Half Forgotten Europe The past is a foreign country has become a truism yet the past differs from the present in many unfamiliar ways and historical memory is extraordinarily imperfect The degree to which we think of the

  • Title: Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe
  • Author: Norman Davies
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 266
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • The past is a foreign country has become a truism, yet the past differs from the present in many unfamiliar ways and historical memory is extraordinarily imperfect The degree to which we think of the European past as the history of France, Germany, Britain, Russia and so on, actually obstructs our view of former reality, and blunts our sensitivity to the ever changing p The past is a foreign country has become a truism, yet the past differs from the present in many unfamiliar ways and historical memory is extraordinarily imperfect The degree to which we think of the European past as the history of France, Germany, Britain, Russia and so on, actually obstructs our view of former reality, and blunts our sensitivity to the ever changing political landscape Europe s past is littered with kingdoms, empires and republics which no longer exist but which were some of the most important entities of their day the Empire of Aragon , which dominated the western Mediterranean in the thirteenth century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the largest country in Europe for part of the eighteenth century This book shows the reader how to peer through the cracks of mainstream history writing, and to catch a glimpse of the Five, Six or Seven Kingdoms of Burgundy How long will it be before the USSR, until recently one of the world s two superpowers, is wholly or half forgotten as most of these The histories of the lost echo across the centuries, mixed in with familiar sounds One of the purposes of this book is to help us hear them again clearly, and appreciate where they came from.As in his earlier celebrated books Europe and The Isles, Norman Davies aims to subvert our established view what looks familiar in history and urges us to look and think again This stimulating book, full of unexpected stories, observations and connections, gives us a fresh and original perspective on European history.

    Vanished Kingdoms The Rise and Fall of States and Nations Vanished Kingdoms The Rise and Fall of States and Nations and millions of other books are available for Kindle Learn Enter your mobile number or email address below and we ll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Vanished Kingdoms The History of Half Forgotten Europe by Vanished Kingdoms is a bit of an uneven book On the one hand it delves into some really fascinating corners of European history and reminds the reader that there is no intrinsic reason the current borders are where they are. Vanished Kingdoms The History of Half Forgotten Europe by Vanished Kingdoms The History of Half Forgotten Europe by Norman Davies review But consider the fate of one of Queen Victoria s grandchildren, Carl Eduard, Duke of Saxe Coburg and Gotha, Vanished Kingdoms The History of Half Forgotten Europe Vanished Kingdoms is a book that gives us completely new and fresh perspective on European history Focusing on once powerful countries and kingdoms and completely forgotten today Vanished Vanished Kingdoms The History of Half forgotten Europe Nov , Vanished Kingdoms The History of Half forgotten Europe Among other things, we are reminded that Byelorussia had lost around per cent of its total population by Even then its suffering had not ended, as reintegration into the USSR brought further waves of Vanished Kingdoms by Norman Davies PenguinRandomHouse Nov , About Vanished Kingdoms From the bestselling author of Europe A History comes a uniquely ambitious masterpiece that will thrill fans of lost civilizations While Germany, Italy, France, and England dominate our conceptions of Europe, these modern states are relatively recent constructs. Vanished Kingdoms, by Norman Davies review SFGate Viking pages Some of the states in Vanished Kingdoms were short lived, such as Etruria, in central Italy, which lasted but years in the th century Others spanned centuries, such as Byzantium, an empire that survived nearly , years Some of Davies subjects were weak.

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    About "Norman Davies"

      • Norman Davies

        Professor Ivor Norman Richard Davies FBA, FRHistS is a leading English historian of Welsh descent, noted for his publications on the history of Europe, Poland, and the United Kingdom From 1971, Davies taught Polish history at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies SSEES of the University of London, where he was professor from 1985 to 1996 Currently, he is Supernumary Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford Throughout his career, Davies has lectured in many countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, China, Poland, and in most of the rest of Europe as well.The work which established Davies reputation in the English speaking world was God s Playground 1981 , a comprehensive overview of Polish history In Poland, the book was published officially only after the fall of communism In 2000, Davies Polish publishers Znak published a collection of his essays and articles under the title Smok wawelski nad Tamiz The Wawel Dragon on the Thames It is not available in English.In 1984, Davies published Heart of Europe, a briefer history of Poland Interestingly, the chapters are arranged in reverse chronological order In the 1990s, Davies published Europe A History 1996 and The Isles A History 1999 , about Europe and the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, respectively Each book is a narrative interlarded with numerous sidepanel discussions of microtopics In 2002, at the suggestion of the city s mayor, Bogdan Zdrojewski, Davies and his former research assistant, Roger Moorhouse, co wrote a history of Wroc aw Breslau, a Silesian city Titled Microcosm Portrait of a Central European City, the book was published simultaneously in English, Polish, German and Czech Davies also writes essays and articles for the mass media Among others, he has worked for the BBC as well as British and American magazines and newspapers, such as The Times, The New York Review of Books and The Independent In Poland, his articles appeared in the liberal Catholic weekly Tygodnik Powszechny Davies book Rising 44 The Battle for Warsaw describes the Warsaw Uprising It was followed by Europe at War 1939 1945 No Simple Victory 2006 In 2008 Davies participated in the documentary film The Soviet Story Some historians, most vocally Lucy Dawidowicz and Abraham Brumberg, object to Davies historical treatment of the Holocaust in Nazi occupied Poland They accuse him of minimizing historic antisemitism, and of promoting a view that accounts of the Holocaust in international historiography largely overlook the suffering of non Jewish Poles Davies s supporters contend that he gives due attention to the genocide and war crimes perpetrated by both Hitler and Stalin on Polish Jews and non Jews Davies himself argues that Holocaust scholars need have no fears that rational comparisons might threaten that uniqueness Quite the opposite and that needs to re construct mentally the fuller picture in order to comprehend the true enormity of Poland s wartime cataclysm, and then to say with absolute conviction Never Again In 1986, Dawidowicz s criticism of Davies historical treatment of the Holocaust was cited as a factor in a controversy at Stanford University in which Davies was denied a tenured faculty position for alleged scientific flaws Davies sued the university for breach of contract and defamation of character, but in 1989 the court ruled that it did not have jurisdiction in an academic matter.Davies holds a number of honorary titles and memberships, including honorary doctorates from the universities of the Jagiellonian University since 2003 , Lublin, Gda sk and Warsaw since 2007 , memberships in the Polish Academy of Learning PAU and the Academia Scientiarum et Artium Europaea, and fellowships of the British Academy and the Royal Historical Society Davies received an honorary DLitt degree from his alma mater the University of Sussex Davies is also an honorary


    1. Some books stay on your shelves so long they get squatters’ rights and you get the idea they’re part of the décor rather than something to read. This was one of those.I took a look at it this week. I had a go. And one of those things I like to geek out on, occasionally, is obscure history. The Empire of Trebizond. The Khanate of the Golden Horde. Timbuctoo. Faraway places with strange sounding names. (I have to recognise that to the 54,450 inhabitants of Timbuctoo, it's actually Nottingham [...]

    2. A rather interesting, albeit cluttered, set of historical essays on states and nations which no longer exist, from the kingdoms of Spain to Alt Clud/Strathclyde in Scotland, to the USSR.The memory of every thing is overwhelmed in time, says Marcus Aurelius, three centuries before his empire passed. Why did these old states crumble - wars, internal strife, warring ethnicites, imperial ambitions? Perhaps. Some states, like the Republic of Carpatho-Ruthenia, survived for but a day, swallowed by the [...]

    3. So this turned out to be waaaay more WTF than expected. While also being really fucking boring.Now, i’m the escapee graduate of a Marxist cult that hasn’t incorporated a new idea since Warsaw Ghetto fell. I am perfectly at home with the notion that all accounts of history are an ideological construct - including the ones you *(yes, you) hold dear. Since history can never be known, but only abused, you might as well shrug and move on with the brainwashing. So the question then becomes, what i [...]

    4. Norman Davies says right at the beginning of this book that he has chosen to write about things that interest him and I have found it one of the most interesting histories I have read in years. It both opens new doors (who ever knew of Tolosa, Alt Clud, Aragon or Rosenau) and fills in threadbare parts of my tapestry of knowledge about European history (Burgundy and Galicia, for instance). I have sticky notes all the way through it and suspect that it will be a book I press upon anybody remotely [...]

    5. This is a book about countries that have died. Many I had heard about before, such as Burgundy, Borussia and Byzantine, some were new to me like Alt Clud and Rusyn. I have always been fascinated by the rise and fall of empires so this book was written for me.Each country is given a chapter and Davies draws us a sketch of the countries rise and fall. I liked the snippets of obscure information and some off piste analysis and commentary.My favourite chapters featured the one day wonder that was Ru [...]

    6. The best histories are always slightly eccentric - and this one certainly is eccentric. Its range is great, both in time and space: ancient, modern and trans-European, it deals with "failed" or "vanished" states but in reality reminds us that everything is transient. Things only feel permanent and fixed when we stand in the centre.I suppose what I like about this book is its serendipity - the fact that you can dive in virtually anywhere and find something interesting and informative. It has vari [...]

    7. Vanished Kingdoms is a bit of an uneven book. On the one hand it delves into some really fascinating corners of European history and reminds the reader that there is no intrinsic reason the current borders are where they are. On the other hand Davies sometimes ends up on some inconsequential tangents and has a thing for discussing a vanished kingdom's songs and poetry (not my cup of tea). Even as a lover of history I grew tired of some of the paths he led me down. This was clearly a special proj [...]

    8. It is slightly fraudulent to mark this book as read, but given that there is no option to mark as "skipped some chapters after persisting far longer than the material justifies" this will have to do.I cannot recall the last time I didn't read a book all the way through, even a long one like this. Alas, the addition of some truly objectionable showing off has pushed me over the edge. There is no doubt that Professor Davies has researched all his subjects meticulously. But do we really need to be [...]

    9. When I was a child in the 1970's, the map of the Europe seemed immutable. Ongoing decolonialisation granted statehood to pre-existing territories of the major European powers, and new states had sprung forth from violent conflict in far-flung corners of the globe, but Europe's boundaries, fixed in the aftermath of the Second World War, were constant. Then came the collapse of the Soviet Union and the break-up of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovia. Europe's states suddenly became fragile entities, as ce [...]

    10. As a non-Polish Canadian I owe a great debt to Davies. He has managed in his career to make Polish history comprehensible to me. This is no mean feat given the fact that Polish History differs from the familiar Western European history in so many fundamental ways.I wish that Davies had not applied his considerable talents to this questionable project and instead stuck to Poland where he always finds important things to say to North Americans and Western Europeans.Davies tells the story of kingdo [...]

    11. tl;dr: Extremely interesting, at times long-winded, history of some of European vanished countries, most forgottenEach chapter is split into three parts, which usually follow the same pattern: the first part is the country's location in modern times. Sometimes it's a travelogue, sometimes it's a summary of politics, sometimes an Internet-based walk in the country. The second part is the actual history, sometimes it skims, sometimes it's as detailed as possible, followed by the last part, which i [...]

    12. Readers familiar with Davies' two historical monster-works of the 1990s, 'Europe: A History' and 'The Isles,' recognize that Davies combines a desire to be comprehensive on a broad scope with a unique style of information presentation that is exciting and quite unlike most historians. At the same time, he is dismissive of over-specialization in historical studies and of post-modernist concerns with "narrative," critiques that I share with Davies. But the very nature of this book suggested it wou [...]

    13. I rather enjoyed this book. One of those that could be delved into as the mood took. Each chapter more an essay on the specific subject and no doubt some would not be happy with that. But for a bit of less than dry reading it more than hits the spot as entertainment. Some would not be happy with the book title. Hardly kingdoms at times that should not detract from the book. Some may not like the songs and poems interspersed but again it is more a book aimed at entertaining history. I like the st [...]

    14. A rather old-fashioned collection of essays on defunct European monarchies, focusing on the military conquests and marital alliances of those kingdoms' ruling families. Davies pads the narrative with block quotes, genealogical charts, and song lyrics, and pauses periodically to indulge in interpretive quarrels that are likely to bore most readers (unless they are deeply interested in how many political entities bore the name 'Burgundy'). Still, there are a few interesting chapters here on the Ar [...]

    15. This was a disappointing book. Ostensibly telling the story of European history somewhat indirectly through fifteen case studies of States that had ultimately ceased to exist, this very long book ultimately collapses on the self-indulgent approach of the author. Let us start with the positive aspects of the book. The meat of each case study is solid and offers presumably reliable basic narrative history of the old school that will give any reader with a general education important and probably n [...]

    16. While seemingly impressive and erudite, I was a little disappointed with this book for two reasons; the narrative is on the clunky side and i remember (maybe wrongly though) that I liked the narrative in Europe and The Isles and thought it flowed.On the content side, the lesser known states have some interesting tidbits but i found the story of the ones I know about (Duchy of Lithuania, Byzantium or CCCP) on the sketchy "for Martians" side; Byzantium is truly ridiculous and I have no idea why it [...]

    17. A book after my own heart. Vanished Kingdoms details the stories of several significant European polities which no longer exist, including the Kingdoms, Duchies and Counties of Burgundy, the Polish-Lithianian Commonwealth, and Saxe-Coburg. The biggest recent Boojum is, of course, the Soviet Union, which vanished overnight without anyone – least of all Gorbachev – intending it to do so; nor the hundreds of thousands of soldiers, strategists, politicians or secret policemen devoted to its pres [...]

    18. An excellent history devoted to the places that lie between the places that other histories cover. Besides the wealth of detail and the opening up of unknown worlds, the books explores how countries disappear. What goes away and what remains. I wouldn't try it without a good grounding in European history, but if you have that, you'll find it fascinating.

    19. What a piece of work this is! How could one resist an account of the "Kingdom of the naked and starving" or "The Republic of one day"? At well over 800 pages, this book might be seen as a collection of 15 short books, each of which almost stands on its own, so they can be read in any sequence. Davies begins each of the 15 tales with a visit to the locale as it exists today and then proceeds to describe in wonderful (and sometimes fanciful) style the origins and denouement of the long vanished re [...]

    20. Europe's history is complicated. Countries come and go, ruling houses thrive and die. Some eras are well-known: Napoleontic France, the Third Reich, England under Henry VIII, But for national or ideological reasons or just because the importance has waned, some histories have been forgotten.It is the author's noble goal to highlight some of these 'vanished kingdoms'. Eire, CCCP and Byzantion are amongst the more popularly known. This does not hold for Tolosa, Alt Clud, Litva, Montenegro, Rusyn a [...]

    21. An infuriating, fascinating survey of countries that aren't there anymore. Davies is quite right to suggest that a teleological bias sets in if we learn Europe's history through component histories of France, Germany, Spain et al, and discount erstwhile fixtures such as Burgundy and Livonia. He has the wide learning and seriousness more often found in earlier generations of historians, and occasionally their wonderful turn of phrase too: "Ramon Berenguer ruled in uneasy tandem with his brother, [...]

    22. For anyone aspiring to an education in European history Norman Davies book is a "must read." The crannies of history that have remained obscure are made painstakingly clear, from the Visigoths to the Kingdom of Poland and its Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Not only is this book essential for an understanding of Europe's chaotic history, but it clarifies, through the author's own travel experiences, what's happening now and why. Davies' approach is unique in my experience in his vivid accounts of the [...]

    23. On the whole, I liked the book; not, however, as much as I liked the idea of the book. It really does want an editor to look out for the reader. Although I like the conclusions to which the author eventually arrives, I would have been much happier reading, had he let me know where he was headed at the beginning of each chapter. The surprise-twist ending works for O. Henry, but O. Henry's stories were more compact than the chapters of this book. Neither a failure of history, nor of wit; but some [...]

    24. Holy crap, I finished it! It took me two months, but I did it. (To be fair, I had a 'few' things going on, and finished a few other books over the same period.)This book is dense. It really is. But it is also really interesting. I didn't think I could enjoy this level of detail about states, family lines, successions, etc.; and in a sense it was as boring as it might sound (depending on your tastes/interests.) But the thing is it actually was well worth the read, and maintained my interest throu [...]

    25. "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 E [...]

    26. While the historical content of this book was very interesting, and in some cases, new and revealing, the overall theme seems to be more about how people think about history, or, rather, don't think about history. Since Davies is a specialist in Eastern Europe, I would guess that the examples from that area are most accurate, but I'm not a specialist in Eastern Europe, so I can't really judge it for myself. Still, I would definitely recommend this book, though if you're buying the ebook, wait fo [...]

    27. A bit of an anoraks guide to historic Europe. But this helps to explain some of the background to current geopolitics in Europe, as history always plays a large part in the likes, dislikes and suspicions of the citizens of the continent.

    28. Let me start of by emphasizing that I respect the amount of labor, research and writing that went into this book, but at the same time I will not allow that respect to cloud my appreciation for the reading and learning experience this book offers. Norman Davies wanted to shed some light on the lesser know pockets of European history or to counter the 19th-20th century historical nationalistic social Darwinian discourse of European history (the states and societies still around were meant to be v [...]

    29. What a fascinating and frustrating book. There's a massive amount of historical information in here that will be unknown to anyone but experts, focusing on the "losers", mainly throughout Eastern Europe. But it's presented in a dry, outmoded style--lots of lists of hereditary successions and dates when borders shifted. Each chapter begins with a brief travelogue and ends with a cranky screed about how every historian other than the author has it all wrong. Davies works at a Polish university, so [...]

    30. I’ve got to admire Norman Davies for his chutzpah; not only has he produced thousand page general histories of Europe and Britain (well, almost 1000 pages for Britain), he has also given us this 800 page history of Europe told via states that no longer exist. However, the idea marvellously contrarian as it is) turns out to be better than finished product.Starting with the great strength: much of what we get as historical writing is stuck within a national frame – histories of phenomenon X in [...]

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