In this concise, lucid and entertaining book, with more than forty maps and illustrations, acclaimed historian John Hirst explores the qualities that have made Europe a world-changing civilisation.
Beginning with a rapid historical overview from the ancient Greeks to the present day (the ‘shortest history’ itself), Hirst goes on to examine what makes Europe unique: its political evolution; the shaping influence of its linguistic boundaries; the crucial role played by power struggles between Pope and Emperor; and of course the great invasions and conquests that have transformed the continent.
Written with clarity, feeling and wit, The Shortest History of Europe is a tour-de-force: read in a single afternoon, it will be remembered for a lifetime.
John Hirst (1942–2016) was a Australian historian and social commentator known for his fearless commitment to ‘the rigorous pursuit of historical truth that drove him to explore the deeper patterns and meanings of the past, and the contemporary implications, that others had missed’ (Jeremy Sammut). He taught at La Trobe University in Melbourne from 1968 until his retirement in 2006.