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A dozen-plus examples from European history constitute this ruminative disquisition on the impermanence of polities. Struck by popular amnesia about the existence of his selections, some of which endured for centuries (although one, the Republic of Carpatho-Ukraine, lived but one day), Davies, from a traveler’s viewpoint, describes the contemporary appearance of each former state’s territory or principal city, then applies engrossing clarity to the history of its origin, ascent, and decline. Two states en route to expiration, Prussia and Savoy, left traces in contemporary Germany and Italy, but the rest are gone, submerged by dynastic politics, as were the duchy of Burgundy and the kingdom of Aragon, or hacked away and conquered by aggressive neighbors, as was the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth. Despite the subject of extinction, pessimism does not pervade Davies’ accounts, which detect a persistence of popular memory about each vanished state, encouraging advocates for its revival, as occurred in the cases of Poland and Lithuania. Having current relevance especially to the UK and Montenegro, Davies’ fascinating work harbors insights and discoveries for avid history readers. --Gilbert Taylor--This text refers to theHardcoveredition.
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review by . January 28, 2013
Have you ever heard of Tolosa, Litva, Etruria, Rusyn or Sabandia? These are some of the kingdoms that the author gives us a history of, from their beginnings to their ends. I'm sure that these names are basically unknown to the average history reader, such as myself, and therein lies the appeal of this book.      When I read a history book I always hope to learn something new about the subject. In this book I learned an enormous amount about places that once were mighty and …
review by . January 28, 2013
Have you ever heard of Tolosa, Litva, Etruria, Rusyn or Sabandia? These are some of the kingdoms that the author gives us a history of, from their beginnings to their ends. I'm sure that these names are basically unknown to the average history reader, such as myself, and therein lies the appeal of this book.      When I read a history book I always hope to learn something new about the subject. In this book I learned an enormous amount about places that once were mighty and …
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