The Pursuit of Power

The Pursuit of Power

Europe, 1815-1914

Summary

'A scintillating, encyclopaedic history, rich in detail from the arcane to the familiar... a veritable tour de force' Richard Overy, New Statesman

'Transnational history at its finest ... .. social, political and cultural themes swirl together in one great canvas of immense detail and beauty' Gerard DeGroot, The Times


'Dazzlingly erudite and entertaining' Dominic Sandbrook, The Sunday Times

A masterpiece which brings to life an extraordinarly turbulent and dramatic era of revolutionary change.


The Pursuit of Power
draws on a lifetime of thinking about nineteenth-century Europe to create an extraordinarily rich, surprising and entertaining panorama of a continent undergoing drastic transformation. The book aims to reignite the sense of wonder that permeated this remarkable era, as rulers and ruled navigated overwhelming cultural, political and technological changes. It was a time where what was seen as modern with amazing speed appeared old-fashioned, where huge cities sprang up in a generation, new European countries were created and where, for the first time, humans could communicate almost instantly over thousands of miles. In the period bounded by the Battle of Waterloo and the outbreak of World War I, Europe dominated the rest of the world as never before or since: this book breaks new ground by showing how the continent shaped, and was shaped by, its interactions with other parts of the globe.

Richard Evans explores fully the revolutions, empire-building and wars that marked the nineteenth century, but the book is about so much more, whether it is illness, serfdom, religion or philosophy. The Pursuit of Power is a work by a historian at the height of his powers: essential for anyone trying to understand Europe, then or now.

Reviews

  • Highly impressive ... chronicles a turbulent and confusing century with wonderful clarity and verve ... transnational history at its finest ... more complete but also much more fascinating than most histories of the period
    Gerard Degroot, The Times

About the author

Richard J. Evans

Richard J. Evans is one of the world's leading historians of modern Germany. He was born in London in 1947. From 2008 to 2014 he was Regius Professor of History at Cambridge University, and from 2020 to 2017 President of Wolfson College, Cambridge. He served as Provost of Gresham College in the City of London from 2014 to 2020. In 1994 he was awarded the Hamburg Medal for Art and Science for cultural services to the city, and in 2015 received the British Academy Leverhulme Medal, awarded every three years for a significant contribution to the Humanities or Social Sciences. In 2000 he was the principal expert witness in the David Irving Holocaust Denial libel trial at the High Court in London, subsequently the subject of the film Denial. His books include Death in Hamburg (winner of the Wolfson History Prize), In Defence of History, The Coming of the Third Reich, The Third Reich in Power, and The Third Reich at War. His book The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815-1914, volume 7 of the Penguin History of Europe, was published in 2016. His most recent books are Eric Hobsbawm: A Life in History (2019) and The Hitler Conspiracies: The Third Reich and the Paranoid Imagination (2020). In 2012 he was knighted for services to scholarship.
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more