The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century (America in the World)

The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century (America in the World)

Jürgen Osterhammel

Language: English

Pages: 1192

ISBN: 0691169802

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A monumental history of the nineteenth century, The Transformation of the World offers a panoramic and multifaceted portrait of a world in transition. Jürgen Osterhammel, an eminent scholar who has been called the Braudel of the nineteenth century, moves beyond conventional Eurocentric and chronological accounts of the era, presenting instead a truly global history of breathtaking scope and towering erudition. He examines the powerful and complex forces that drove global change during the "long nineteenth century," taking readers from New York to New Delhi, from the Latin American revolutions to the Taiping Rebellion, from the perils and promise of Europe's transatlantic labor markets to the hardships endured by nomadic, tribal peoples across the planet. Osterhammel describes a world increasingly networked by the telegraph, the steamship, and the railways. He explores the changing relationship between human beings and nature, looks at the importance of cities, explains the role slavery and its abolition played in the emergence of new nations, challenges the widely held belief that the nineteenth century witnessed the triumph of the nation-state, and much more.

This is the highly anticipated English edition of the spectacularly successful and critically acclaimed German book, which is also being translated into Chinese, Polish, Russian, and French. Indispensable for any historian, The Transformation of the World sheds important new light on this momentous epoch, showing how the nineteenth century paved the way for the global catastrophes of the twentieth century, yet how it also gave rise to pacifism, liberalism, the trade union, and a host of other crucial developments.

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hinterland were strangers only to a lesser degree. In Chinese port cities, for example, they often lived alongside others in the same line of business, constituting distinctive social milieux, guild organizations, and recruitment networks. Shanghai, in particular, was a patchwork quilt of such communities based on a solidarity of origin. Attempts in the early twentieth century to organize a harbor proletariat into unions and political parties had to contend with such particularism.148 Groups

quasi-colonial areas. After the end of the war, only a few empires were dissolved—and not the largest and most important. Germany lost its small, economically insignificant colonies; the Great Powers in the victorious coalition shared them out among themselves. The unique Habsburg Empire, a European multinational entity with no colonial possessions, broke up into its component parts. Of the Ottoman Empire there remained Turkey and the former Arab provinces (now mandated territories or

diplomats took the side of Christian groups in religious quarrels. From 1860 on, representatives of Western powers intervened everywhere in favor of European and North American missionaries. Sometimes they did so reluctantly, because many missionaries relied on such protection to engage in ill-considered provocations. Power politics then came into play, when European states proclaimed their role as defenders of Christian minorities. The French Second Empire did this in Ottoman Syria and Lebanon,

academic life (including the Academia Sinica, founded in 1928) that was capable of top-class achievements. Despite ancient traditions of scholarship, it was only the early Republic that laid the foundations for China’s present-day status as a major player in the world of international science. Japan was the only country in Asia that evolved differently. Its premodern conditions were not necessarily more favorable, but the reception of European knowledge was not broken off as dramatically as it

for a hard time—and not just in Europe. “Power,” says John Lynch in view of the period 1870 to 1930, “could change Latin American liberals into monsters of illiberalism.”16 2 Secularization Dechristianization in Europe? The nineteenth century has often been viewed as the age of “secularization.”17 Until the middle of the nineteenth century, this word was understood to refer to the transfer of church lands to lay owners. Then it acquired a new meaning: the decline of religious influence

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