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See below for a selection of the latest books from European history category. Presented with a red border are the European history books that have been lovingly read and reviewed by the experts at Lovereading. With expert reading recommendations made by people with a passion for books and some unique features Lovereading will help you find great European history books and those from many more genres to read that will keep you inspired and entertained. And it's all free!
While staying closely aligned with Hitler, Mussolini remained carefully neutral until the summer of 1940. Then, with the wholly unexpected and sudden collapse of the French and British armies, Mussolini declared war on the Allies in the hope of making territorial gains in southern France and Africa. This decision proved a horrifying miscalculation, dooming Italy to its own prolonged and unwinnable war, immense casualties and an Allied invasion in 1943 which ushered in a terrible new era for the country. John Gooch's new book is the definitive account of Italy's war experience. Beginning with the invasion of Abyssinia and ending with Mussolini's arrest, Gooch brilliantly portrays the nightmare of a country with too small an industrial sector, too incompetent a leadership and too many fronts on which to fight. Everywhere - whether in the USSR, the Western Desert or the Balkans - Italian troops found themselves against either better-equipped or more motivated enemies. The result was a war entirely at odds with the dreams of pre-war Italian planners - a series of desperate improvizations against Allies who could draw on global resources and against whom Italy proved helpless. This remarkable book rightly shows the centrality of Italy to the war, outlining the brief rise and disastrous fall of the Italian military campaign.
Since the early twentieth century, nations around the world have set aside protected areas for tourism, recreation, scenery, wildlife, and habitat conservation. In Russia, biologists and geographers had been intrigued with the idea of establishing national parks before the Revolution, but instead persuaded the government successfully to establish nature reserves (zapovedniki) for scientific research during the USSR's first decades. However, as the state pushed scientists to make zapovedniki more useful during the 1930s, some of the system's staunchest defenders started supporting tourism in them. In Into Russian Nature, Alan D. Roe offers the first history of the Russian national park movement. In the decades after World War II, the USSR experienced a tourism boom and faced a chronic shortage of tourism facilities. During these years, Soviet scientists took active part in Western-dominated international environmental protection organizations and enthusiastically promoted parks for the USSR as a means to expand recreational opportunities and reconcile environmental protection and economic development goals. In turn, they hoped they would bring international respect to Soviet nature protection efforts and help instill in Russian/Soviet citizens a love for the country's nature and a desire to protect it. By the end of the millennium, Russia had established thirty-five parks to protect iconic landscapes in places such as Lake Baikal. Meanwhile, national park opponents presented them as an unaffordable luxury during a time of economic struggle, especially after the USSR's collapse. Despite unprecedented collaboration with international organizations, Russian national parks received little governmental support as they became mired in land-use conflicts with local populations. Exploring parks from European Russia to Siberia and the Far East, Into Russian Nature narrates efforts, often frustrated by the state, to protect Russia's vast and unique physical landscape.
A provocative analysis of how Christianity helped legitimize the death penalty in early modern Europe, then throughout the Christian world, by turning execution into a great cathartic public ritual and the condemned into a Christ-like figure who accepts death to save humanity. The public execution of criminals has been a common practice ever since ancient times. In this wide-ranging investigation of the death penalty in Europe from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century, noted Italian historian Adriano Prosperi identifies a crucial period when legal concepts of vengeance and justice merged with Christian beliefs in repentance and forgiveness. Crime and Forgiveness begins with late antiquity but comes into sharp focus in fourteenth-century Italy, with the work of the Confraternities of Mercy, which offered Christian comfort to the condemned and were for centuries responsible for burying the dead. Under the brotherhoods' influence, the ritual of public execution became Christianized, and the doomed person became a symbol of the fallen human condition. Because the time of death was known, this ideal sinner could be comforted and prepared for the next life through confession and repentance. In return, the community bearing witness to the execution offered forgiveness and a Christian burial. No longer facing eternal condemnation, the criminal in turn publicly forgave the executioner, and the death provided a moral lesson to the community. Over time, as the practice of Christian comfort spread across Europe, it offered political authorities an opportunity to legitimize the death penalty and encode into law the right to kill and exact vengeance. But the contradictions created by Christianity's central role in executions did not dissipate, and squaring the emotions and values surrounding state-sanctioned executions was not simple, then or now.
First published in 1943, this volume aims to trace the development of several of the more acute problems of Czechoslovak life and history in a country which has been highly sensitive to the disturbances which have shaken the rest of Europe and which has never been far from the tumult and the clash of arms. Only through historical analysis and quiet explanation of the facts can we fairly judge, in the light of past event, the ultimate value of a free Czechoslovakia to a free Europe.
Nestor Makhno has been called a revolutionary anarchist, a peasant rebel, the Ukrainian Robin Hood, a mass-murderer, a pogromist, and a devil. These epithets had their origins in the Russian Civil War (1917-1921), where the military forces of the peasant-anarchist Nestor Makhno and Mennonite colonists in southern Ukraine came into conflict. In autumn 1919, Makhnovist troops and local peasant sympathizers murdered more than 800 Mennonites in a series of large-scale massacres. The history of that conflict has been fraught with folklore, ideological battles and radically divergent cultural memories, in which fact and fiction often seamlessly blend, conjuring a multitude of Makhnos, each one shouting its message over the other. Drawing on theories of collective memory and narrative analysis, Makhno and Memory brings a vast array of Makhnovist and Mennonite sources into dialogue, including memoirs, histories, diaries, newspapers, and archival material. A diversity of perspectives are brought into relief through the personal reminiscences of Makhno and his anarchist sympathizers alongside Mennonite pacifists and advocates for armed self-defense. Through a meticulous analysis of the Makhnovist-Mennonite conflict and a micro-study of the Eichenfeld massacre of October 1919, Sean Patterson attempts to make sense of the competing cultural memories and presents new ways of thinking about Makhno and his movement. Makhno and Memory offers a convincing reframing of the Mennonite / Makhno relationship that will force a scholarly reassessment of this period.
Jeanne de Penthievre (c.1326-1384), duchess of Brittany, was an active and determined ruler who maintained her claim to the duchy throughout a war of succession and even after her eventual defeat. This in-depth study examines Jeanne's administrative and legal records to explore her co-rule with her husband, the social implications of ducal authority, and her strategies of legitimization in the face of conflict. While studies of medieval political authority often privilege royal, male, and exclusive models of power, Erika Graham-Goering reveals how there were multiple coexisting standards of princely action, and it was the navigation of these expectations that was more important to the successful exercise of power than adhering to any single approach. Cutting across categories of hierarchy, gender, and collaborative rule, this perspective sheds light on women's rulership as a crucial component in the power structures of the early Hundred Years' War, and demonstrates that lordship retained salience as a political category even in a period of growing monarchical authority.
Can anyone truly understand Russia? Let one of the world's leading experts show you how, using the fascinating history of a nation to illuminate its future. Russia is a country with no natural borders, no single ethnos, no true central identity. At the crossroads of Europe and Asia, it is everyone's 'other'. And yet it is one of the most powerful nations on earth, a master game-player on the global stage with a rich history of war and peace, poets and revolutionaries. In this essential whistle-stop tour of the world's most misunderstood nation, Mark Galeotti takes us behind the myths to the heart of the Russian story: from the formation of a nation to its early legends - including Ivan the Terrible and Catherine the Great - to the rise and fall of the Romanovs, the Russian Revolution, the Cold War, Chernobyl and the end of the Soviet Union - plus the arrival of an obscure politician named Vladimir Putin.
Despite the extensive analysis of the historical, political and legal background of many Balkan conflicts in recent years, little attention has been paid to the tragedy of the Cham ethnic community. In 1913 the commission entrusted by the London Conference of Ambassadors to define the southern borders of the newly created state of Albania ended its proceedings with the Protocol of Florence, which provided that the territories inhabited by almost half of the Albanian population were exempted from the boundaries of the new state. While nearly 800,000 inhabitants found themselves within the new state of Albania, the territories inhabited by the remaining 700,000 ethnic Albanians became constituent parts of Serbia and Greece - the winners of the Balkan Wars. The land of the Chams, a coastal area between southern Albania and north-west Greece known as 'Chameria', was entirely incorporated into Greece. Since that time, the predominantly Muslim Chams have faced severe persecution and forced expulsion from their homes in Greece, particularly under the Metaxas regime, when the Chams were prohibited from using their own language outside of their home, and also during World War II, when Chams were persecuted in retaliation for their collaboration with the Axis powers. In the aftermath of World War II, the continued persecution of the Chams forced many to return to Albania, or to seek refuge in Turkey or the United States with the result that, after the war, only just over 100 Muslim Cham Albanians were left in Greece. In recent years, following the collapse of communism in Albania, when foreign travel again became possible, many have sought to return to their homelands in Greece and to regain their property. The documents gathered together in this book consist of records of the League of Nations and the British Mission, as well as documents assembled by other diplomatic missions between 1913 and the 1960s. Together, they address all of the periods of forced expulsions of the Cham population from Greece. The publication of these documents provides an unparalleled historical record of the Cham story. This book will be essential reading for scholars of Balkan history, politics and human rights. It will provide a fascinating insight into one of the forgotten tragedies of the twentieth century.
For over twelve years in the first half of the nineteenth century, Giuseppe Garibaldi, the hero of Italian unification, lived, learned and fought in South America. He was tortured, escaped death on countless occasions, and met his Brazilian wife, Anita, who eloped with him in 1839. From then on, she would share in Garibaldi's personal and political odyssey, first in the breakaway republic of Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil, and then as Montevideo's admiral and general in the Uruguayan civil war. Richard Bourne breathes life and understanding into these spectacular South American adventures, which also shed light on the creation of Italy. Garibaldi's Redshirts liberated Sicily and Naples wearing ponchos adopted by his Italian Legion in Montevideo. His ideas, his charismatic command of volunteers, and his naive dislike of politicking were all infused by his earlier experiences in South America. Bourne combines historical research with his travels in Uruguay and southern Brazil to explore contemporary awareness of and reflection on how the past can influence or be transformed by the needs of today. Now, at a time of narrow identity politics, Garibaldi's unifying zeal and advocacy for subjugated peoples everywhere offer an exemplary lesson in transnational political idealism.
The Ottoman Empire - the great power which had ruled much of southeastern Europe and the Middle East for over five centuries - was manifestly in decline by 1912. Its decline had been gradual, but by the early years of the twentieth century, the collapse of the mighty world that had once stretched to the gates of Vienna seemed increasingly inevitable. New Balkan states - Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Greece - combined forces in the First Balkan War (1912-1913) to bring about its downfall. But with victory in their grasp, they were soon at one another's throats. This book contains 83 selected and edited consular dispatches and reports sent to the Foreign Office in London focusing on events in Macedonia during the Balkan Wars of 1912-1914. They reveal the extent of human suffering in the southern Balkan region in this period and provide much insight into the realities of the Balkan conflagration as it affected Macedonia and its environs. As a first-hand, on-the-spot account, this is an invaluable source for historians of twentieth-century Europe, the lead-up to World War I and the decline of the Ottoman Empire.