History and geography delineate the operation of power, not only its range but also the capacity to plan and the ability to implement. Approaching state strategy and policy from the spatial angle, Jeremy Black argues that just as the perception of power is central to issues of power, so place, and its constraints and relationships, is partly a matter of perception, not merely map coordinates. Geopolitics, he maintains, is as much about ideas and perception as it is about the actual spatial dimensions of power.
To write history is to consider how to explicate the past, to weigh the myriad possible approaches to the past, and to come to terms with how the past can be and has been used. In this book, prize-winning historian, Jeremy Black, considers both popular and academic approaches to the past. His focus is on the interaction between the presentation of the past and current circumstances, on how history is used to validate one view of the present or to discredit another, and on readings of the past that unite and those that divide.
What if there had been no World War I or no Russian Revolution? What if Napoleon had won at Waterloo in 1815, or if Martin Luther had not nailed his complaints to the church door at Wittenberg in 1517, or if the South had won the American Civil War? Black focuses on the role of counterfactualism in demonstrating the part of contingency, and thus human agency, in history, and the salutary critique the approach offers to determinist accounts of past, present, and future.
"Don't Judge this Academic Treatise by its Intriguing Cover Drawing"
Prize-winning author Jeremy Black traces the competition for control of North America from the landing of Spanish troops under Hernán Cortés in modern Mexico in 1519 to 1871 when, with the Treaty of Washington and the withdrawal of most British garrisons, Britain accepted American mastery in North America. In this wide-ranging narrative, Black makes clear that the process by which America gained supremacy was far from inevitable.
"This is a worthwhile listen... with qualifications"
In 1851 Queen Victoria opened the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park. It was the high water mark of English achievement - the nation at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution, at the heart of a burgeoning Empire, with a queen who would reign for another 50 years. In the following 150 years, the fate of the nation has faced turmoil and transformation. But it is too simple to talk of decline? Has Great Britain sacrificed its identity in order to stay part of the present world order?
Jeremy Black uses Waterloo to contextualise the changing nature of war, the rise and fall of Napoleon's empire, and the influence of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars on the nineteenth century. Waterloo was an iconic battle for the British, a triumph of endurance that ensured a nineteenth-century world in which Britain played the key role.
"More about impact on Britain than the battle."
Jeremy Black addresses not only firepower, but also power projection and technologies of logistics, command, and control. Examining military technologies in their historical context and the present centered on the revolution in Military Affairs and Military Transformation, Black then forecasts possible future trends.