J. M. Roberts, "Twentieth Century: The History of the World, 1901 to 2000"

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J. M. Roberts, "Twentieth Century: The History of the World, 1901 to 2000"

J. M. Roberts, "Twentieth Century: The History of the World, 1901 to 2000"
Viking Adult | 1999 | ISBN: 0670884561 | siPDF | 905 pages | 13.7 MB

One of our greatest contemporary historians greets the millennium with an authoritative and engrossing survey of the twentieth century

When it comes to narrative history, J. M. Roberts is an undisputed master of his craft. His classic History of the World (more than a quarter million copies sold worldwide) remains, in the words of eminent historian A. J. P. Taylor, "a stupendous achievement…the unrivaled World History of our day. . . unbelievably accurate… almost incontestable in its judgement." More remarkable, his History of Europe was acclaimed as "the best single volume history of Europe. . . combining authority and good sense with fluency and wit" (London Times Literary Supplement). In his latest sweeping and entertaining work, Roberts focuses on our own momentous century.

Twentieth Century places a chronological narrative of events in the context of the long-term changes that colored them. Among these are worldwide increases in life expectancy; major strides in science and technology; the radical reconfiguration of the global economy; vanished empires, shrunken white hegemony, and reassessment of "western" civilization; and the ever-evolving role of women. Review
J.M. Roberts's monumental Penguin History of the World became a publishing phenomenon and sold in the hundreds of thousands. Now he has produced an equally brilliant new book, focusing solely on our own troubled and dramatic century, and it has all the breathtaking sweep and confident judgment of his previous work.

Most important, Roberts takes a truly international view of things. The 20th century, he argues, is marked as much as anything by the decline of Europe as the world's sole arbiter and the emergence of today's cosmopolitan, global civilization, born of decolonization, the resurgence of Islam, and the vibrant, self-assured new nations of Asia and Latin America.

He also examines the other two major trends of our time: the social and economic empowerment of women and the extraordinary quadrupling of the world's population, most of it in Third World countries.

A challenging and exacting read, Twentieth Century is destined to be a classic.

From Publishers Weekly
Joining the many eminent historians who have tried to summarize the 20th century, Roberts (A History of Europe, etc.) takes as his framework the compelling argument that "in many ways, the world… was centered on Europe when the twentieth century began" and "much of that century's story is of how and why that ceased to be true before it ended." It's a good argument, and it distinguishes Roberts's history from those of Martin Gilbert (A History of the Twentieth Century, 1952-1999, Forecasts, Oct. 25), who takes a strict chronological approach, and Clive Ponting (The Twentieth Century: A World History, Forecasts, Feb. 1), who takes a more multithemed tack.

With broad strokes, Roberts traces the political and economic events that led to the demise of Europe's empires and the continent's descent into two world wars, while also tracking the vicissitudes of democracy and communism throughout the world during the Cold War. He scrutinizes the development of the U.S.S.R. and the Asian powers, China and Japan in particular, but the U.S. generally gets short shrift, even during the second half of the century.

Too frequently, Roberts appears frustrated by being forced to generalize, and he unnecessarily apologizes for having to do so (notably in his discussions of fascism and modernism). The greatest casualty of the book's scope is character. This is a book of trends, not people. The century's geopolitical rainmakers—FDR, Hitler, Mao, etc.—are present, but they exist on an epic rather than a personal scale.

Fortunately, at any level of detail, the 20th century is a fascinating saga, and Roberts brings wit as well as a gift for summary to the task.


Book 1 The World of 1901: Inheritances
 1 By Way of Introduction
 2 Structures
 3 The White Man's World
 4 Shapes of Things to Come

Book 2 The Last Years of the European Ascendancy
 5 European Exceptionalism
 6 Europe as a System of Power
 7 Challenges and Challengers in the Making
 8 The Great War and the Beginning of the Twentieth-century Revolution

Book 3 The End of the Old World Order
 9 A Revolutionary Peace
 10 Years of Illusion

Book 4 World Revolution
 11 An Emerging Global History
 12 The Path to World War
 13 The Second World War

Book 5 A New World
 14 Appearance and Reality
 15 The Cold War Unrolls
 16 East Asia Reshaped
 17 Africa and the Near East: Old and New Problems

Book 6 Shifting Foundations
 18 Changing Minds
 19 New Economic and Social Worlds
 20 Authority and Its New Challengers

Book 7 A Changing World Balance
 21 The Cold War at Its Height
 22 Vietnam and After
 23 The Reshaping of Europe

Book 8 The End of an Era
 24 A World in Evolution
 25 Crumbling Certainties
 26 Post Cold War Realities
 27 Fin-de-siècle
 28 Retrospect

Appendix: The Exploration of Space
Tags: History, WorldHistory, HistorySurvey

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See Also:

James M. McPherson, "Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Oxford History of the United States)"

Arthur Goldschmidt & Lawrence Davidson, "A Concise History of the Middle East (8th Edition)"

Francis Fukuyama, "The End of History and the Last Man"

Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, "Millennium: A History of the Last Thousand Years"

Paul Johnson, "Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties (Revised Edition)"

J. M. Roberts, "The New History of the World, 4e"

Tony Judt, "Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945"

Jonathan D. Spence, "The Search for Modern China"

Niall Ferguson, ed., "Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals"

Daniel Walker Howe, "What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 (Oxford History of the United States)"