The Ascendancy of Europe by Matthew Anderson

The Ascendancy of Europe by Matthew Anderson focuses on the period between 1815-1914. It is a good book and I made a lot of notes from it. While it is a great starter book for the European history of the 19th century, I wouldn’t say it has a great appeal for non-historians. It is on the dry side and fact heavy, this makes it a great resource for somebody studying history though.

The Ascendancy of Europe by Matthew Anderson

Anderson touches on all western countries and mentions a few times the rest of Europe though, talking about economy, social and intellectual changes, and, also, about military changes. The rise of nationalism is also talked about, alongside the rise of socialism. I liked that he had quite a balanced approached, without favouring a view or another. It’s very likely I would read the book again, or at least parts of it, when I need to refresh my memory on particular aspects.

The Ascendancy of Europe by Matthew Anderson

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My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: Yes, but to historians as it is a fact heavy book and it might not appeal to everybody.
Published by: Pearson
Year it was published: 3rd edition, 2002 (first published in 1972)
Format: Paperback
Genre(s): History
Pages: 448

About the author: Matthew Smith Anderson was born in Perth, and was educated at Edinburgh University. He served in the RAF from 1942 to 1945. After WWII he returned to Edinburgh University to complete his PHD.
In 1949 he went on to become an Assistant Lecturer at the London School of Economics. Following advice from his teachers, he studied Russian, and wrote his first book in 1958 Britain’s Discovery of Russia, 1558-1815. He continued to write books, such as Eighteenth Century, 1713-1783. In 1972 The Ascendancy of Europe: aspects of European history, 1815-1914 was published.
Between 1972 and 1985 he was a Professor of International History at the London School of Economics, before he retired. He did extensive research into Europe, both Western and Eastern. In total he published 11 books, around 20 articles, was part of multi-authored volumes.
He died in 2006.
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1 thought on “The Ascendancy of Europe by Matthew Anderson”

  • This is a period I don’t know a great deal about. Given I read history for pure pleasure, I’m sure it’s too dry for me. It’s good that you now have a reference book you can look back to when necessary.

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