Centuries of Change by Ian Mortimer

Centuries of Change by Ian Mortimer – Which Century Saw the Most Change and Why it Matters to Us – sounds like a very interesting book and it was. Each chapter dealt with the changes happening in a century, starting from the 11th. The focus is centred, obviously, on Europe and Western Europe more precisely.

Centuries of Change by Ian Mortimer

I enjoyed each century with its interesting history and the way Mortimer analyses developments in technology, science, and, of course, religion. It is a book which makes you think and I would have given a very strong 5 stars out of possible 5. But, the book ends with his interpretation and his views on which century saw the most change. I don’t agree with him, but that was not why I gave the book 4 stars. What I did not like was the simplistic approach to the 20th century. For example, he mentions Hitler as the most important agent of change in that century. I can’t see why. It’s obvious that Hitler, like Stalin and Mao, were only 1 person and what happened in Nazi Germany or Communist Russia and China was not entirely made by them. Without Hitler, another Nazi would have risen to power, maybe that person would have had a bit more patience and amassed a larger army and more submarines before attacking, which, in turn would have led to a swift Nazi victory in Europe. One man can do a lot of damage, even on a global scale, like the pope instigating for the crusade or Luther’s anti-catholic and anti-Semitic views, but they were only a small piece of the puzzle, just like Hitler. It can be very possible that another pope or another protest-ant or another Nazi would have had the same impact, even if the history would have been slightly different.

I recommend this book because it is very nicely written, the facts are very well presented, and it makes one think. Maybe you agree with him on the whole “agent of change” stance too, but, to find out, you need to read the book.

Centuries of Change by Ian Mortimer

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 4/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: The Bodley Head
Year it was published: 2014
Format: Hardcover
Genre(s): History – Broad subject
Pages: 403

About the author: Dr Ian Mortimer is a historian and novelist, best known for his Time Traveller’s Guides series. He has BA, MA, PhD and DLitt degrees from the University of Exeter and UCL. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and was awarded the Alexander Prize by the Royal Historical Society in 2004. Home for him and his family is the small Dartmoor town of Moretonhampstead, which he occasionally introduces in his books. He also writes fiction under the name James Forrester.
Books by Ian Mortimer: The Perfect King: The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation, The Outcasts of Time, The Greatest Traitor: The Life of Sir Roger Mortimer, Ruler of England 1327-1330, The Fears of Henry IV: The Life of England’s Self-Made King, 1415: Henry V’s Year Of Glory, Centuries of Change: Which Century Saw the Most Change and Why it Matters to Us, Millennium: From Religion to Revolution: How Civilization Has Changed Over a Thousand Years.
Time Traveller’s Guides series:
1. The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England
2. The Time Traveller’s Guide to Elizabethan England
3. The Time Traveller’s Guide to Restoration Britain
4. The Time Traveller’s Guide to Regency Britain
Website & Social Media Links: ianmortimer.com

4 thoughts on “Centuries of Change by Ian Mortimer”

  • I believe the role of personality in history has been discussed for centuries. This was one of questions when I had to pas a history exam in high school. There are different schools of thinking on the matter. It’s most likely Mortimer and you belong to different philosophical clans.
    I’d be curious to read this book, as usually Mortimer is a very engaging writer.

  • I enjoyed the only other book by this author that I read and this one sounds very interesting, too. However, I believe stating the facts would be enough considering going beyond this might become too subjective.

    My paternal grandmother lived to be 100 and I always marveled at the changes she witnessed during her lifetime. (and she died 35 years ago, so think of the changes since then!)
    Kelly recently posted…Above the CloudsMy Profile

    • I sometimes think of that too. When one great-grandfather was born Romania was smaller (it missed the whole of Transylvania, search online for a map of Romania before 1918 if you are curious, as I imagine you are not familiar with the history of Eastern Europe), when his son was born it was recession, but he wouldn’t have guessed that, only a few years later, WWII will start, and so on.

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