This book focuses on the Mediterranean world of 400 years ago, but the perspective stretches back to the world of Homer, and the foreground reaches up to the 20th century. In considering the Mediterranean's history it is not treaties, wars and dynastic marriages that claim the author's attention, but such questions as how long it took for a cargo ship to work its way from Alicante to Alexandria, how much it cost to send a special courier from Madrid to Paris, how people lived and what they lived on and what happened in cities like Venice, Naples or Constantinople when plague, famine or war intensified an already furious struggle for existence.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
No history book published in the last fifty years has won greater acclaim than Fernand Braudel's 'The Mediterranean.' The general reader and the professional scholar alike have found it absorbing, stimulating and enriching.
The focus of the book is the Mediterranean world of four hundred years ago. But the perspective of time stretches back from the age of Philip II to the world of Homer, and the foreground reaches up to our own time. And in considering the Mediterranean's history it is not treaties and wars and dynastic marriages that claim our attention, but how long it took for a cargo ship to work her way from Alicante to Alexandria; how much it cost to send a special courier from Madrid to Paris; how people lived and what they lived on; what happened in great cities like Venice, Naples or Constantinople when plague or famine or war intensified an already furious struggle for existence.
This new one-volume abridgment, undertaken at the author's request by his English editor, Richard Ollard, does not seek to replace the original work: rather, it takes the opportunity of bringing new readers to this wonderful book by emphasizing its visual qualities with a host of new illustrations Braudel himself would have delighted in.
"One of those books," wrote Hugh Trevor Roper, "which are recognized as classics from their first publication. We are amazed by Braudel's range of illustration, by his eye for detail, his power to select, animate, generalize. He seems to know every crease in these mountains, every island in that sea, every climatic freak, every human response to the problems they pose. His style is marvellously fresh, clear, and above all, alive." In common with almost every reviewer, he also had high praise for Sian Reynolds' translation, which later won the Scott Moncrieff Prize.
From the reviews of the first English edition:
"Will doubtless stand as one of the crowning achievements of twentieth-century historical craftsmanship."
"No historical work of our time has done so much to alter one's approach not just to Mediterranean history, but to the historian's task. This is a book beyond compare."
"A classic you can compare to the great classics of history writing from Thucydides to Gibbon and from Macaulay to Burckhardt."
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