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J. M. Roberts (1) (1928–2003)

Forfatter af Verdenshistorie

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J. M. Roberts (1) has been aliased into John Morris Roberts.

81+ Værker 5,502 Medlemmer 46 Anmeldelser 3 Favorited


Værker af J. M. Roberts

Works have been aliased into John Morris Roberts.

Verdenshistorie (1976) 2,463 eksemplarer
The Penguin History of Europe (1996) 815 eksemplarer
The Triumph of the West (1985) 180 eksemplarer
Europe 1880-1945 (1967) 114 eksemplarer
A Concise History of the World (1993) 62 eksemplarer
The French Revolution (1978) 44 eksemplarer
Different Worlds (1980) 16 eksemplarer
Historia universal (2008) 8 eksemplarer
The Earliest Men and Women (1980) 7 eksemplarer
De wording van Europa (1981) 7 eksemplarer
The first civilizations (1980) 6 eksemplarer
History of the world since 1500 (1976) 4 eksemplarer
Dünya tarihi (2011) 4 eksemplarer
Illustrated History of the World (1980) 4 eksemplarer
French Revolution documents (1973) 4 eksemplarer
História do século XX (2007) 3 eksemplarer
Historia universal ilustrada (2000) 3 eksemplarer
Histoire du monde - Tome 1 (1) (2018) 3 eksemplarer
Azja Wschodnia i Grecja klasyczna (1999) 2 eksemplarer
The age of revolution (2001) 1 eksemplar
Kisa Dünya Tarihi (2014) 1 eksemplar

Associated Works

Works have been aliased into John Morris Roberts.

England Under the Norman and Angevin Kings 1075-12 (2000) — Forord, nogle udgaver400 eksemplarer

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garbagedump | 5 andre anmeldelser | Dec 9, 2022 |
John asked for it, John got it: Caveat Lector.

Much like Robert’s excellent History of the World (which I think is a bit better). From the jacket: “For his ability to grasp and communicate the full sweep of the past, Roberts … must rank as the leading historical mind of his generation.” “A monumental work of synthesis … outstanding factual accuracy and solid judgments.” “His gifts of compression and clear exposition are outstanding.”

The first third covers ancient civilization to 1500, the next third from 1500 – 1900, then the 20th c. Emphasis is on the latter part in the first two sections, and on modern history generally, though the treatment of late Roman times to 1500 helped me much better understand that period.

It also gave me a handle on many other fuzzy items – the position of Emperor, relationship between Emperor and Pope, the French Revolution and aftermath, 19th c. French history in general, the confusing German tapestry before unification, how unification came about, and similar for Italy. It also shed light I hadn’t had on the Balkans, Eastern Europe generally, Russia (especially post-Ivans), Byzantium, and the long, complicated decline of the Ottoman Empire.

Intense compression necessarily involves omission, and some things would benefit from more coverage. How Switzerland came about isn’t explained, unless it was so brief I missed it. Germany’s unification is brief but a good synopsis; that of Italy is too brief to be clear. But these are minor quibbles considering the book’s scope. His coverage of European imperialism, its entanglements and effects on other societies and the results, is excellent (and often depressing). Another quibble (or more) – the few maps aren’t great, and they’re often only tangentially related to the narrative (similar for the occasional timeline). Lists of place-names appear which are probably familiar to knowledgeable Europeans, but not to me. More and better maps, closely tied to the text, would be a big improvement. Roberts’ books are so good that Penguin owes them this.

His perspectives on American Independence and growth (tantalizingly brief) are useful antidotes to American mythology and narrow vision. Without ill will, he recognizes the American presidency as the (18th c.) British-like constitutional monarchy it essentially is; he’s sober about the relatively minor grievances used to justify revolution, and (as typically) that a radical elite inflamed opinion towards violence; that Americans would have lost without French and Spanish help (also crediting American generalship, when British blunders are a better explanation); and that the U.S. wouldn’t have expanded westward so quickly without British naval protection. He doesn’t dwell on it, but doesn’t romanticize the ruthless illegitimacy of this expansion, including gross abuse of American Indians and the naked land grab called the Mexican War (with the evils of slavery and the Spanish-American War in the longer list). But America's a sideshow here.

Roberts makes a good case that WWI was never inevitable, but the final lead-up is so compressed it’s a bit misleading. He suggests Russia told Serbia to comply with Austrian demands, Serbia largely did, but Austria’s quick invasion was intended regardless. Russia actually sent Serbia mixed signals, and invasion seems unlikely had Serbia completely complied. Had Russia been as clear as Roberts suggests, war might have been averted. But the world wars have been covered so thoroughly elsewhere that this isn’t a big problem.

Roberts’ focus is political, economic, social and cultural; he provides very little military history. His approach to WWII is similar to WWI, although Hitler’s rise is given very little space while the war itself gets more coverage. He provides another interesting perspective on the US, suggesting Truman’s 1947 decision to contain the USSR by providing aid to Greece and Turkey (reversing traditional American isolationism) “may well be thought the most important [decision] in American diplomacy since the Louisiana Purchase.”

A couple other of many interesting tidbits: both the US and USSR supported the creation of Israel (for Russia this was anti-British rather than pro-Israeli). Of course Russian support was short-lived, and in the 1973 Yom Kippur war it’s thought they provided Egypt with nuclear weapons, prompting American forces to go on worldwide alert, essentially ending the war. I always wondered how David beat Goliath again, when this time Goliath had a large quantity of good Soviet weapons. This explanation is more plausible than the Israeli myths.

What Roberts does best is draw out patterns from a mass of detail and make reasoned judgments about these patterns, and he does it very well. All in all, a rip-roaring ride through the fascinating and often hideous past.
… (mere)
garbagedump | 8 andre anmeldelser | Dec 9, 2022 |
Roberts is a master of the broad brush, managing to make world history a page-turner and 1200 pages seem like 300 (or so). Because the subject’s so large, it always feels like you’re moving at high speed and observing from high above. There’s little room for detail, but that’s the nature of world history. The beauty of it is that Roberts makes connections and observations of patterns, and we’re able to do the same, which wouldn’t be possible in a history of smaller scope with more detail (of course, we need both). One particularly valuable example is the context in which he places the American Revolution and subsequent US expansion. At the time, the revolution was a relatively small matter and Europe was focused on more important things. After the war, Britain controlled the seas and also controlled the territory north of the new nation. With a weak power (Spain) controlling much of the areas south and west, and with France checked by Britain in North America, the US was able to expand in an essentially invisible bubble of protection created by Britain. It was in Britain’s interests to let this weak little English-speaking upstart expand rather than allowing another European power to fill the relative void of North America (it doesn’t make it right, but one of the European powers would have done it if the US hadn’t). A little deflating for our national mythology, but isn’t that one of the purposes of history done well?… (mere)
garbagedump | 17 andre anmeldelser | Dec 9, 2022 |


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