The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers Paperback – 1989
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The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers
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In the year 1500, the date chosen by numerous scholars to mark the divide between modern and pre-modern times, it was by no means obvious to the inhabitants of Europe that their continent was poised to dominate much of the rest of the earth. Read the first page
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Warlike rivalries between European states stimulated advances, economic growth and military effectiveness. The Habsburg bid for power was ultimately unsuccessful because other European states worked together, the Habsburgs overextended in repeated conflicts during which they became militarily top heavy upon a weakening economic base. The other European states managed a better balance between wealth creation and military power. The power struggles between 1600 and 1815 were more complicated as Spain and the Netherlands declined while France, Britain, Russia, Austria and Prussia rose to dominate diplomacy, and warfare.Read more ›
So I will make some slightly different comments. This book is one of the better buys at Amazon.com and I will probably look at some of the other books written by Paul Kennedy. I like the way the author presents reams of data and arguments. It is very well done and all quite interesting. This book is very detailed being 540 pages long with an incredible 120 page discussion of sources added to the 540 pages. So it is simply another excellent book that provides a lot of detail that connect economics, military history, world influence, etc. As a reader I like to read this type of book so I can interpret current events with a better understanding of the historical precedents.
If I can make a slight bit of humor I am worried that some of our current politicians like Bush who received a C average at Yale and is not a reader has never heard of or read this book, or a similar book, or have many other politicians. They should. This book points out the obvious. History repeats itself and countries and economies run in cycles. This idea of the cycle and the tie in to military power is not unique, in fact it is the norm. The US is no different and we are not exempt from this concept of a cycle. There is a small problem in that the book was written in the late 1980's and so it does not have the "correction" in the growth of the Japanese economy, and in fact Japan's growth itself may have already peaked in a shorter time frame after two upward cycles 1853-1939, and 1945-1992.Read more ›
Of course, he was exaggerating, but only by a matter of degrees. History is the study of the interconnexions of human beings in their actions over time, and to that end, the more we understand of the past, the better chance we have of surviving and flourishing into the future.
Paul Kennedy's book, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers is an insightful, sweeping examination of the centuries of the growth and dominance and, lately, relative decline of the European powers over the rest of the globe. To a lesser extent (because they were lesser players) he draws in Asian, and finally, American players, although as will be seen, they began to play the game according to the European rules.
He pays particular attention to the economic and military aspects of the motivations of national and ethnic decision-making; so often history (or at least popular history) has portrayed such as purely political, religious (at least until the last few centuries), or royal-family intrigues. Kennedy explores the forgotten aspects in a popular format; hence the question (as the Gulf War is almost universally recognised as, in reality, a war of economic necessity rather than for political or moral purpose, which tended to be added later)--were the Hapsburgs responsible? Rather, that is a way of asking, are the same motivations that were at play with Great Power relationships in 1500 still at play today? Have we learned anything?Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I found this quite dry and hard to read. It is superb if you are an insomniac! I tried really hard to get through it and finally gave up around page 150. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Clinton Millett
...as a view of recent history. Kennedy's predictions on the near future were no worse than anyone else's at the time. Read morePublished on April 26 2005 by Steve Muhlberger
This is a good book that reveals that there are cycles and trends that tend to have happened throughtout history to great nations. Read morePublished on Feb. 10 2004 by Joseph J. Slevin
Time has not been kind to Paul Kennedy's book. It's sort of funny to think that Kennedy was writing this on the eve of a ten year financial boom in the US -- one of the largest in... Read morePublished on Dec 23 2003
Kennedy chronicles the rise of the Great Powers starting with the Ming Dynasty in China and taking us all the way to the contemporary times of the 1980s. Read morePublished on July 19 2003 by Gabriel Emanuel Borlean
I know it's picking nits, but there was one statement that the author made on page 504 saying that "Stars Wars" technology would not alter the MAD equation if it were developed. Read morePublished on June 26 2003 by Mark T. Smith
Paul Kennedy has developed a unique approach at explaining history. Paul Kennedy's historical model focuses on a few variables, including:
1) What % of GDP a Power dedicates... Read more
Amazing book! Wonderfully written. Surprisingly, only half-interpreted. As a few reviewers have pointed out, it is more properly used as a history book than an oracle. Read morePublished on May 26 2003 by J. Risse