What I am reading: History of Modern Europe

I am an avid reader, have been since I was in my early teens.  While most of my reading tends to favor the SciFi genre, I have developed a taste for history.

When I was in High School I had the usual US history, and with it a smattering of world history. Of course, my 3rd year of university, I took a college level US history course, and learned how badly we were lied to in high school. Since then I have read more granular accounts of the US experience, and I have enjoyed it.

Lately though, I have come to the realization that I have a severe deficiency in my knowledge of European history.  Late last year, I was in Germany, and one of our local people took me to the Frankfurt Christmas market, and he was explaining to me about the history of the Frankfurt/Mainz area. I realized that I had almost no knowledge of the history of the Continent.

So I have resolved to rectify that shortfall.  I first found a course on the Itunes university on modern European history, taught by John Merriman, professor at Yale.  I also picked up his monstrous tome, “A History of Modern Europe from the Renaissance to the Present” (fortunately I was able to grab a used copy for $40 on Amazon).  It starts with a smattering of important topics from the medieval time, as that laid a lot of the groundwork of the renaissance.

I am through the renaissance and into the Reformation. It is a riveting read, and John Merriman is a gifted story teller.  The pace is good, and the illustrating stories are very helpful.  As this book is more than 1400 pages long, I will take quite some time to read it, and thoroughly learning the path from feudal medieval Europe into the states that exist today.

(I also read a lot on the history of mathematics and physics, but reading about real history helps place the development of mathematics in context.)

I will drop back in and report as I am working my way through this.

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