The Eastern Question, An Historical Study In European Diplomacy (1917, 1st Edition) by Marriott, J. A. R. (1859–1945)
"MR. MARRIOTT has produced a useful book. He has read industriously for it, and the list of authorities cited for each chapter is imposing. But he is not a mere boiler-down of historians and geographers, British and foreign. What moves the special admiration of the reader is the ease and skill with which he handles his material and carries along two or three threads of story at the same time without ever dropping one or confusing his threads. That is noticeable, not so much in the comparatively easy matter of emphasising at the right times the French interest in the Near East through centuries, as in the telling of the early nationalist history of the Balkans. We all know something of the older Servia and the older Bulgaria, of Stephen Dushan and Simeon the Great. Mr Marriott stalks through their interrelations like a hunter in a familiar forest.
So also he keeps a close hand on the relation of the Eastern Question to European politics in general during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. You are never left in doubt why Russia or Austria or France was able (or willing) to move the Near Eastern waters at any time." (James Davidson, The Scottish Historical Review, 10/1917)
4th edition published in 1940.
The Balkans: A History Of Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, Rumania, Turkey (1915) by Forbes, Nevill (1883–1929), Toynbee, Arnold Joseph (1889–1975), Hogarth, David George (1862–1927) & Mitrany, David (1888–????)
"WHEN the common cover is the only effective bond of union in the collaborated product of four authors, it may be affirmed that the maladjustment of style and matter to be expected in this sort of enterprise has exceeded the permissible limit. The preface offers an apology for the disjointed handiwork: "widely separated, engaged on other duties, and pressed for time, we have had no opportunity for interchange of views".
Admitting the difficulty of co-operating under these circumstances the question may be asked: why co-operate at all? The answer is not far to seek. The book before us is a war-book, hurriedly put together by four scattered British students to meet an immediate demand of the British public for historical information concerning one of the focal interests of the present war, the Balkan Peninsula. Naturally enough the book presents the long story of the peninsula pretty consistently from a British angle, but with a degree of fervor varying from man to man. Nevill Forbes, the historian of Bulgaria and Serbia, is the most insular of the group of authors. His tale of Bulgars and Serbs is punctuated with sudden explosions of wrath against Britain's foes which we may assume he will be the first to regret when peace has again restored the disturbed balance of his soul. D. Mitrany, lord of the Rumanian destiny, is noticeably cooler than Nevill Forbes; and Arnold J. Toynbee, writing on Greece, has almost completely succeeded in banishing the special animosities of the moment from his pages. The palm for objectivity and serenity of outlook must, however, be accorded to D. G. Hogarth, in whose close-woven story of the rise and decline of the Ottoman power there does not appear as much as a faint edge of disdain born of the developments of the present war.
Since each author composed his section in proud ignorance and disregard of all the other sections, the contribution of each stands on its own merits and should in fairness be judged as a separate work." (Ferdinand Schevill, The American Historical Review, 07/1916)
Arabia (1922) by Hogarth, David George (1862–1927)
Belgium, The Making Of A Nation (1920) by Linden, Herman Vander (1868–1956)
"This history of Belgium from the earliest times down to 1914 is in the main a translation of the Vue gene'rale de l'histoire de Belgique published in Paris in 1918. The last three chapters, covering the period since the establishment of the kingdom in 1831, were, however, specially written by the author for the English edition. The book is an excellent compendium, well-informed, well-balanced, well-considered. The confused annals of the middle ages are presented with as reasonable clarity as is permissible considering the tangle. " No land," says the author, " possesses a more international history—a fact which has been brought out with wonderful skill by Henri Pirenne-and it is not paradoxical to assert that one of the characteristics of Belgian nationality is internationalism."" (Charles Downer Hazen, Political Science Quarterly, 06/1922)
France, Mediaeval And Modern, A History (1918) by Hassall, Arthur (1853–1930)
Ireland, From The Earliest Times To The Present Day (1922) by Dunlop, Robert (1861–1930)
"HAVING regard to the size of Mr. Dunlop's book and the period which it undertakes to cover, one might at first be inclined to regard it as merely a school text-book, more or less uncritical and superficial. This, however, it is not. Within compass of its 208 pages it gives a surprising number of facts ; on most it furnishes us with the result of recent research, and on many with original views" (M. T. H., An Irish Quarterly Review, 12/1922)
Italy, Μediaeval Αnd Μodern (1917) by Jamison, Evelyn Mary (1877–1972), Ady, Cecilia Mary (1881–1958), Vernon, K. D. (????–????) & Terry, Charles Sanford (1864–1936)
"IT is no wonder that Italian history should be invested, in the eyes of Englishmen, with a perennial fascination, considering how profoundly we have been influenced at critical stages of our national development by the Italian genius. The catalogue of our obligations is too lengthy to be recited in a preface. A few examples must suffice. It is to an Italian, Gregory the Great, that we owe our Christian faith ; to Benedict of Nursia and to Francis of Assisi we are indebted for interpretations of that faith which have survived the Middle Ages and our own Reformation. It was on Italian soil that English humanists made their first acquaintance with the wisdom of antiquity and the spirit of free thought. Machiavelli first inspired us to reason about the nature and the purpose of the modern State ; Mazzini taught us to respect the idea of nationality. Dante and Petrarch, Ariosto and Tasso, have been accepted models in more than one great age of English poetry. Nowhere have the great Italian artists, from Giotto to Raphael, been better loved or more closely studied than in England.
Our sense of these obligations is reflected in our historical literature, which is full of admirable monographs on particular epochs of Italian history, and on the leaders of Italian religious and political movements. Yet it is strangely difficult to find any general sketch of Italian history, from the barbarian invasions to the present day, which can be recommended as an introduction to more detailed studies. It was to supply this need that the present volume was planned and written. The authors have taken a broad view of their subject. They have devoted considerable space to political and ecclesiastical history because Italy, long before she attained to national unity, was the scene of many fruitful experiments in political and ecclesiastical organization. But they have also called attention to the more remarkable achievements of the Italian spirit in the fields of art and philosophy and science, and the historical conditions which made these achievements possible. Finally, they have traced, so far as it is possible to do so in a text- book, the working of those instincts, deeply rooted in the national history and national character, which from age to age promoted or retarded the cause of national unity.
It is the hope of the writers and the editor that this book may do something to encourage and direct its readers in studying the life-history of the Italian people, with whom our ancestors have been linked for centuries by ties of intellectual and spiritual sympathy, and with whom we are to-day united in defending the liberties of Europe." (Preface)
Japan: The Rise Of A Modern Power (1918) by Porter, Robert Percival (1852–1917)
Persia (1922) by Sykes, Percy Molesworth (1867–1945)
"COLONEL SYKES, whose earlier work on Persian subjects is well known and deservedly valued (his Ten Thousand Miles in Persia is one of the best books we have had in English for many years on the Middle East), has long designed and worked towards such a Persian history as he has now given as.
He has a marked advantage in his close personal knowledge of so much of the ground ; for twenty of the best years of his life he has lived in Persia ; as a diplomatist, a soldier, a traveller, and an investigator he has seen the Middle East from various sides, discovered many truths, and penetrated many illusions. The geographical and topographical chapters and references are particularly helpful, such as those that introduce the work—Configuration and Climate, Deserts, Rivers, Fauna, Flora, Minerals, the geography of Elam (chs. I.-III.)—or that chapter VIII. in which the contrast is drawn between the plains and the uplands of Persia, and the influence of the Aryan race on the Iranian plateau is studied. The parallel between Spain and Persia, even if pressed a little too far ethnologically, is suggestive and valuable.
Our author's account of the historic sites of Persia and their remains is also excellent. Susa, Persepolis, Pasargadae, Ecbatana, and the rest, are well described, and in some cases vividly illustrated: it is perhaps regrettable that Colonel Sykes has not given us the full text of the Behistun inscription of "the son of Vishtasp, the Achaemenian, a Persian, son of a Persian, an Aryan of Aryan descent".
Specially valuable are the sketches of Persian customs, language, letters, and art (including architecture) in various times (see chapter XV. for the Achaemenian ages, chapter XLI. for the Sasanid, chapter LIV. for the early Islamic, chapter LXI. for the Mongol, chapter LXV. for the Safavi).
Everywhere history and geography are elucidated by the intimate first-hand acquaintance of an untiring and acute traveller with the field of study.
One may regret that so much space has been given to matters somewhat apart from the "road to Susa" on which the Persian historian must travel: early Oriental affairs, before the fall of Nineveh, likewise Graeco-Macedonian, Roman, and Arabian events, are treated " somewhat more fully than necessary "—the author anticipates such a criticism in his preface and rebuts it with a statement of the need for a "self-contained complete work ' on his subject, focussing all "known of the ancient empires in their relations with Persia".
But this book is always delightful, even when it strays from Persia; Colonel Sykes has put some of his most suggestive work and some of his best illustrations into the very chapters which digress most widely to Assyria and Babylon, to Hellas, to Rome, or to Arabia; and every reader must wish a wide circulation and a cordial reception for such an admirable piece of work." (Charles Raymond Beazley, The American Historical Review, 01/1916)
Portugal Old And Young: An Historical Study (1917) by Young, George (1872–????)
The Evolution Of Prussia (1917, 1st Edition) by Marriott, J. A. R. (1859–1945) & Robertson, Charles Grant (1869–1948)
"This book represents a preliminary attempt to fill a conspicuous and somewhat discreditable gap in our historical literature. There are useful chapters on the history of Prussia in many text-books of general European history ; there are excellent monographs on special periods, such as the English translation of Ranke's Memoirs oj Brandenburg, or Mr. Fisher's study of Napoleonic Germany ; there are well-known biographies, such
as Carlyle's Frederick and Seeley's Stein. But we are not aware of any work which fulfils the purpose which we have had in view. We have attempted to set forth the story of the rise and development of Brandenburg- Prussia and the later Prussianization of Germany under the Hohenzollern dynasty, and to set it forth, briefly and simply, but as a connected whole and with due regard to the claims of historical scholarship. We have deemed it wise to bring the narrative to a close with the fall of Bismarck, since the events of the last twenty-five years have not yet fallen into historical perspective, and cannot be disentangled from political controversy ; but, for the convenience of readers, the main facts have been succinctly narrated in an epilogue." (Preface)
Revised in 1937 and for the last time in 1946.
Russia: From The Varangians To The Bolsheviks (1918) by Beazley, Charles Raymond (1868–1955), Forbes, Nevill (1883–1929) & Birkett, George Arthur
"The four authors of this book have done their difficult work well. It is a long period from 852 to 1917 to pass in review and show, as they have done, the latent causes which have led to the sudden collapse of what was in all a giant and a united empire.
The early history is well given here. The 'Time of the Troubles', a period having some analogy to the present Anarchy, is also instructively dealt with. So is the tortuous policy of the partitions of Poland, which like serfage also left a long legay of evil to Russia. The modern political movements (the 'Developments' so called) are instructive as leading up to the Revolution of 1905, and the summary of events since must be read and studied. The whole book is a real addition to political history." (A. Francis Steuart, The Scottish Historical Review, 01/1919)
The Guardians Of The Gate: Historical Lectures On The Serbs (1918) by Laffan, Robert George Dalrymple (1887–????)
"The author's chief aim is to explain the present status of the Serbs as " Guardians of the Gate ", i. e., the gate to the East. To understand this he devotes the first quarter of the book to a brief but illuminating history of the Serbs down to the treaty of Berlin. In this history he explains not only the Serbs' political development but also their peculiar economic institutions such as the Zadruga; the great importance of their ballads and of their church in maintaining their national spirit during the Turkish night; and how to a peculiar degree the Serbs, unlike the Greeks and Bulgarians, achieved their own independence. In the second quarter of the volume the author describes the gradual evolution of Serbia from a condition of vassalage to Austria-Hungary under Milan to a state of independence under Peter down to 1914. In this part of his book Mr. Laffan shows an intimate and accurate knowledge of the diplomacy leading to the formation of the Balkan League, the Turkish war, and the fratricidal war between the Balkan allies.
The third quarter of the book explains the reasons for the Austro-German determination to remove the sole obstacle to the Drang nach Osten, the Guardian of the Gate. There exists no more inspiring story in all history than the account of the magnificent fight of the little state against overwhelming odds, in which she three times drove the armies of Austria-Hungary headlong over the border and succumbed only to a union of forces, of betrayal by Bulgaria, desertion by Greece, neglect by the Allies, and determination to bring about a decision by Germany. The final chapter describes the sad condition of the Serbs at the present time and their hopes for the future based wholly upon the event of an Allied victory. The pact of Corfu between Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, which will be the basis of the constitution of Jugoslavia, is given in full, and also a fair and restrained statement of the conflict of interests between South Slavs and Italians. The book is commended to the attention of intelligent laymen. It is not intended for scholars." (Stephen P. Duggan, The American Historical Review, 10/1918)
GENERAL NATIONAL HISTORIES
General Chinese History
General French History
Suggest and discuss books to read (all languages welcome!)
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