John Hirst

The Shortest History of Europe

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Celebrated historian John Hirst offers a fascinating exploration of the qualities that made Europe a world-changing civilisation.

The Shortest History of Europe begins with a rapid overview of European civilisation, describing its birth from an unlikely mixture of classical learning, Christianity and German warrior culture. Over the centuries, this unstable blend produced highly distinctive characters – pious knights and belligerent popes, romantics spouting folklore and revolutionaries imitating Rome – and its coming apart provided the dynamic of European history in modern times.

Accompanied by lively illustrations, The Shortest History of Europe is a clear, humorous and thought-provoking account of a remarkable civilisation. This new edition brings the story into the present, covering the world wars and beyond.

‘A wise, illuminating little book’ —Sydney Morning Herald

‘An entertaining, learned piece of historical compression’ —Age

‘Crisp, lucid and evocative’ —Australian Book Review

‘Beautifully and sparely constructed, yet rich in fact, feeling and detail, sweeping, challenging and funny’ —James Button

‘Great stuff, the book as a whole is constantly thought-provoking’ —Courier Mail

John Hirst was a member of the History Department at La Trobe University from 1968 to 2007. He has written many books on Australian history, including Convict Society and Its Enemies, The Strange Birth of Colonial Democracy, The Sentimental Nation, Sense and Nonsense in Australian History and The Shortest History of Europe.
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294 printed pages
Original publication
2012

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