The Rise of the Great Powers 1648-1815 by Derek McKay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
"The Rise of the Great Powers, 1648-1815" is the history of how the European State system that existed in the century before World War I, given that premise historians Derek McKay and H.M. Scott focus on the diplomatic developments from the end of the Thirty Years War to the end of the Congress of Vienna. Even with the focus of the book being on the diplomatic side of events, the complexity of events from military events to economic concerns to internal state struggles over foreign policy are discussed as all three and more influenced how diplomacy was handled. In the course of approximately 170 years, the landscape of European power shifted numerous times as old powers fell away (Spain) or the new grew in strength (France, Britain, Russia, Prussia) or briefly existed (the Dutch Republic and Sweden) or endured despite weakness (Austria); all told in clear language and easily readable for the history enthusiast to get a general perspective of the time period.
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