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The Shortest History of Europe

How Conquest, Culture, and Religion Forged a Continent--A Retelling for Our Times

By John Hirst

Afterword by Filip Slaveski

Uncover the decisive moments that shaped a world-changing continent. The Shortest History books deliver thousands of years of history in one riveting, fast-paced read.

Celebrated historian John Hirst draws from his own lectures to deliver this ultra-accessible master class on the making of modern Europe, from Ancient Greece through World War II. With over 600,000 copies sold worldwide, this brief history is a global sensation propelled by a thesis of astonishing simplicity: Just three elements—German warfare, Greek and Roman culture, and Christianity—come together to explain everything else, from the Crusades to the Industrial Revolution. Hirst’s razor-sharp grasp of cause and effect helps us see with sparkling clarity how the history of Europe—the crucible of liberal democracy—shapes the way we live today.

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Filip Slaveski

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Review quotes
“Written in easily approachable style and resonating like the lectures of a beloved and provocative undergraduate history professor, this summary of European history holds broad appeal. . . . Simple, clever graphics clarify Hirst's theses and make them memorable.”Booklist, starred review

“Crisp, lucid, and evocative.”Australian Book Review
“A wise, illuminating little book.”The Sydney Morning Herald
“An entertaining, learned piece of historical compression.”The Age
“Beautifully and sparely constructed, yet rich in fact, feeling and detail, sweeping, challenging and funny.”—James Button, journalist and editor
“Great stuff, the book as a whole is constantly thought-provoking.”Courier Mail

“Underwrite an overview of a complicated topic with one of these new short-and-sweet distillations. . . with maps, charts, sidebars, and illustrations to bring it alive.”—Mosaic, Morgan Stanley
Product Details
Shortest History Series
Number of pages
Publication date
November 08, 2022