Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Recent Books: Political and Legal: The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century

Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Recent Books: Political and Legal: The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century

Article excerpt

Recent Books Political and Legal G. John Ikenberry The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century BY JÜRGEN OSTERHAMMEL. TRANSLATED BY PATRICK CAMILLER. Princeton University Press, 2014, 1,192 pp. $39.95.

In this sweeping panorama, Osterhammel captures the dramatic shifts in how people lived and understood life during the nineteenth century. The world was exploding with new ways to communicate, record the past, and conceive of reality: libraries, museums, exhibitions, encyclopedias, novels, opera, newspapers, photography, time zones. People could now see themselves as the occupants of a particular location on earth and also as members of societies with understandable pasts and predictable futures. Rather than present a unified grand narrative, Osterhammel offers a rich " global history" of the century, one that features the West prominently but avoids Eurocentrism with vivid portraits of non-Western peoples and societies. …

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