Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Edi's Lighthouse Chatter: Rise and Fall of Empires

Dear Readers,
let me start with a reminder:

Tomorrow - Thursday, August 19th, 2010, 11:59 PM CEST - ends my first worldwide opened giveaway.
If you would like to win a US paperback copy of The Affinity Bridge (2010) [ISBN-13: 978-0765323224] by George Mann then go to


Don't hesitate to take part....


And now I come back to my topic of the day. From Monday to Saturday I read a German daily newspaper - Frankfurter Rundschau. From time to time they publish book reviews, often about books I'm not interested in.
But today has been an exception. The article Gestörtes Gleichgewicht - John Darwin über den "imperialen Traum" in der Weltgeschichte by Rudolf Walther aroused my interest. It is the review of the German edition of After Tamerlane: The rise and Fall of Global Empires, 1400 -200 (2008) [ISBN-13: 978-0141010229] by John Darwin.
"Rise and Fall of the Great Powers for the post–Cold War era—a brilliantly written, sweeping new history of how empires have ebbed and flowed over the past six centuries.
The death of the great Tatar emperor Tamerlane in 1405, writes historian John Darwin, was a turning point in world history. Never again would a single warlord, raiding across the steppes, be able to unite Eurasia under his rule. After Tamerlane, a series of huge, stable empires were founded and consolidated— Chinese, Mughal, Persian, and Ottoman—realms of such grandeur, sophistication, and dynamism that they outclassed the fragmentary, quarrelsome nations of Europe in every respect. The nineteenth century saw these empires fall vulnerable to European conquest, creating an age of anarchy and exploitation, but this had largely ended by the twenty-first century, with new Chinese and Indian super-states and successful independent states in Turkey and Iran. This elegantly written, magisterial account challenges the conventional narrative of the “Rise of the West,” showing that European ascendancy was neither foreordained nor a linear process. Indeed, it is likely to be a transitory phase. After Tamerlane is a vivid, bold, and innovative history of how empires rise and fall, from one of Britain’s leading scholars. It will take its place beside other provocative works of “large history,” from Paul Kennedy’s The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers to David Landes’s The Wealth and Poverty of Nations or Niall Ferguson’s." [Source]
Yes, it is a history book - a world history book about a fascinating topic: The Rise and Fall of Empires.
I have a faint memory of the rise and fall of the Roman empire in school lessons full of facts and figures. But when you read fantasy, the rise and fall of empires is something like the staff of life. Mostly we get the reasons for the rise and fall. Beside fantasy I'm interested in history since my youth and I would like to get more knowledge about the rise and fall of empires in our past. That means, After Tamerlane: The rise and Fall of Global Empires, 1400 -200 will be the next non-fictional book I buy. And to be honest I will buy the English edition and one of the reasons is definitely the price - even it is not really fair to compare paperback with hardcover: English paperback = 11.95 Eur = 15,38 USD = 9.85 GBP; German hardcover = 49,90 Eur = 64.23 USD = 41.11 GBP.
Unfortunately all of you who can't speak and read Germany can't read the German review of After Tamerlane: The rise and Fall of Global Empires, 1400 -200. But I can assure you it is a positive one. Anyway if you would like toread what other readers think about this book then go to Goodreads. I thing an average of 4.12 of 5 based on 48 ratings and 13 reviews is not that bad....

Enjoy Reading!

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