There is probably no greater authority on the modern history of central and eastern Europe than Ivan Berend, whose previous work, Decades of Crisis, was hailed by critics as "masterful" and "the broadest synthesis of the modern social, economic, and cultural history of the region that we possess." Now, having brought together and illuminated this region's storm-tossed history in the twentieth century, Berend turns his attention to the equally turbulent period that preceded it. The "long" nineteenth century, extending up to World War I, contained the seeds of developments and crises that continue to haunt the region today.
The book begins with an overview of the main historical trends in the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, during which time the region lost momentum and became the periphery, no longer in step with the rising West. It concludes with an account of the persisting authoritarian political structures and the failed modernization that paved the way for social and political revolts. The origins of twentieth-century extremism and its tragedies are plainly visible in this penetrating account.
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"I do not think it possible to understand the troubles and instabilities of Central and Eastern Europe today without reading Ivan T.Berend, the finest comparative historian of this region. In History Derailed, he has produced a characteristically lucid and masterly synthesis of its economic, social, political and cultural history in the 'long nineteenth century' which every reader of his much admired study of inter-war Central and Eastern Europe, Decades of Crisis, will need to read, and anyone interested in the continuing problems of the region will want to read." Eric J. Hobsbawm, Emeritus Professor of Economic and Social History at the University of London and author of many histories including The Age of Extremes: A History of the World, 1914-1991
"This multi-faceted and lavishly illustrated analytical history of Central-East Europe before World War I, written by the world’s foremost scholar of the region, explains how and why the paths of modernization and development diverged so markedly between East and West Europe. Ivan T. Berend’s tour de force of historical interpretation must be essential reading for anyone seeking a true perspective on modern Europe." Derek H. Aldcroft, University Fellow in the Department of Economic & Social Science, University of Leicester
Ivan T. Berend is Professor of History at the University of California, Los Angeles. Author of Decades of Crisis: Central and Eastern Europe before World War II (California, 1998) and of Central and Eastern Europe 1944-1993 (1996), he has now, with his informal "trilogy," performed the remarkable feat of laying the entire modern history of the region before the English-speaking audience.
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