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A History of Modern Europe, Volume 2: From the French Revolution to the Present Paperback – Sep 1 2009
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About the Author
John Merriman is the Charles Seymour Professor of History at Yale University. A specialist in nineteenth century French history, Merriman earned his Ph. D at the University of Michigan. He is the author of many books, including The Margins of City Life: Explorations on the French Urban Frontier, 1815-1851; Red City: Limoges and the French Nineteenth Century; The Agony of the Republic: The Repression of the Left in Revolutionary France, 1848-1851; and, most recently, The Stones of Balazuc: A French Village in Time (Norton, 2002). He regularly teaches the survey of modern European history at Yale.
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I also appreciated Merriman's well-measured and friendly prose style, which is discursive without being digressive. Contemporary political cartoons and made objects are pictured in A HISTORY OF MODERN EUROPE, as well as the maps and portraits we would expect.
If you can find a better comprehensive history, buy it. I myself can find none better.
For all my fellow students at Georgetown, you will need reading glasses after finishing this book.
I did learn a lot from it. One particular part of the book which has stuck with me and made a very emotional impression was the chapters on WW1 and WW2, especially the tables on the casualty counts from WW1 have haunted me ever since I read them. The numbers are mind-numbing and surreal. The photos of the firebombing at Dresden, Germany left me reeling with emotion. The burned bodies lying stacked like cordwood haunted my mind and heart for weeks, even months, after seeing the pictures.
I am grateful that the authors of this book (and Georgetown University for selecting this text) do not sugar coat history. It is brutal, bloody, and deserves a proper airing so that we can take away a true appreciation of the sacrifices of the people that have come before us.