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Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century

by Jurgen Osterhammel Princeton University Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 1192 pages
AU$92.99 NZ$96.51
Product Status: Not Our Publication - we no longer distribute
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A monumental history of the nineteenth century, The Transformation of the World offers a panoramic and multifaceted portrait of a world in transition. Jrgen 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 Europes 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.

Preface xi
Introduction xv
I Memory and Self-Observation: The Perpetuation of the Nineteenth Century 3
1Visibility and Audibility 5
2Treasuries of Memory and Knowledge 7
3Observation, Description, Realism 17
4Numbers 25
5News 29
6Photography 39
II Time: When Was the Nineteenth Century? 45
1Chronology and the Coherence of the Age 45
2Calendar and Periodization 49
3Breaks and Transitions 52
4The Age of Revolution, Victorianism, Fin de Siécle 58
5Clocks and Acceleration 67
III Space: Where Was the Nineteenth Century? 77
1Space and Time 77
2Metageography: Naming Spaces 78
3Mental Maps: The Relativity of Spatial Perspective 86
4Spaces of Interaction: Land and Sea 94
5Ordering and Governing Space 104
6Territoriality, Diaspora, Borders 107
IV Mobilities 117
1Magnitudes and Tendencies 117
2Population Disasters and the Demographic Transition 124
3The Legacy of Early Modern Migrations: Creoles and Slaves 128
4Penal Colony and Exile 133
5Ethnic Cleansing 139
6I nternal Migration and the Changing Slave Trade 144
7Migration and Capitalism 154
8Global Motives 164
V Living Standards: Risk and Security in Material Life 167
1The Standard of Living and the Quality of Life 167
2Life Expectancy and "Homo hygienicus" 170
3Medical Fears and Prevention 178
4Mobile Perils, Old and New 185
5Natural Disasters 197
6Famine 201
7Agricultural Revolutions 211
8Poverty and Wealth 216
9Globalized Consumption 226
VI Cities: European Models and Worldwide Creativity 241
1The City as Norm and Exception 241
2Urbanization and Urban Systems 249
3Between Deurbanization and Hypergrowth 256
4Specialized Cities, Universal Cities 264
5The Golden Age of Port Cities 275
6Colonial Cities, Treaty Ports, Imperial Metropolises 283
7Internal Spaces and Undergrounds 297
8Symbolism, Aesthetics, Planning 311
VII Frontiers: Subjugation of Space and Challenges to Nomadic Life 322
1Invasions and Frontier Processes 322
2The North American West 331
3South America and South Africa 347
4Eurasia 356
5Settler Colonialism 368
6The Conquest of Nature: Invasions of the Biosphere 375
VIII Imperial Systems and Nation-States: The Persistence of Empires 392
1Great-Power Politics and Imperial Expansion 392
2Paths to the Nation-State 403
3What Holds Empires Together? 419
4Empires: Typology and Comparisons 429
5Central and Marginal Cases 434
6Pax Britannica 450
7Living in Empires 461
IX International Orders, Wars, Transnational Movements: Between Two World Wars 469
1The Thorny Path to a Global System of States 469
2Spaces of Power and Hegemony 475
3Peaceful Europe, Wartorn Asia and Africa 483
4Diplomacy as Political Instrument and Intercultural Art 493
5Internationalisms and the Emergence of Universal Norms 505
X Revolutions: From Philadelphia via Nanjing to Saint Petersburg 514
1Revolutions--from Below, from Above, from Unexpected Directions 514
2The Revolutionary Atlantic 522
3The Great Turbulence in Midcentury 543
4Eurasian Revolutions, Fin de Siècle 558
XI The State: Minimal Government, Performances, and the Iron Cage 572
1Order and Communication: The State and the Political 572
2Reinventions of Monarchy 579
3Democracy 593
4Bureaucracies 605
5Mobilization and Discipline 616
6Self-Strengthening: The Politics of Peripheral Defensive 625
7State and Nationalism 629
XII Energy and Industry: Who Unbound Prometheus, When, and Where? 637
1Industrialization 638
2Energy Regimes: The Century of Coal 651
3Paths of Economic Development and Nondevelopment 658
4Capitalism 667
XIII Labor: The Physical Basis of Culture 673
1The Weight of Rural Labor 675
2Factory, Construction Site, Office 685
3Toward Emancipation: Slaves, Serfs, Peasants 697
4The Asymmetry of Wage Labor 706
XIV Networks: Extension, Density, Holes 710
1Communications 712
2Trade 724
3Money and Finance 730
XV Hierarchies: The Vertical Dimension of Social Space 744
1Is a Global Social History Possible? 744
2Aristocracies in (Moderate) Decline 750
3Bourgeois and Quasi-bourgeois 761
XVI Knowledge: Growth, Concentration, Distribution 779
1World Languages 781
2Literacy and Schooling 788
3The University as a Cultural Export from Europe 798
4Mobility and Translation 808
5Humanities and the Study of the Other 814
XVII Civilization and Exclusion 826
1The "Civilized World" and Its "Mission" 826
2Slave Emancipation and White Supremacy 837
3Antiforeignism and "Race War" 855
4Anti-Semitism 865
XVIII Religion 873
1Concepts of Religion and the Religious 873
2Secularization 880
3Religion and Empire 887
4Reform and Renewal 894
Conclusion: The Nineteenth Century in History 902
1Self-Diagnostics 902
2Modernity 904
3Again: The Beginning or End of a Century 906
4Five Characteristics of the Century 907
Abbreviations 921
Notes 923
Bibliography 1021
Index 1119

Jrgen Osterhammel, Winner of the 2012 Gerda Henkel Prize, of the Gerda Henkel Foundation
One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2014

One of Bloomberg Businessweeks Best Books of 2014, chosen by Satiyajit Das

One of Marginal's (Tyler Cowen) Best Non-Fiction Books of 2014

'A work of tremendous conceptual precision, breadth and insight, a masterpiece that sets a new benchmark for debates on the history of world society.'--Benjamin Ziemann, Times Literary Supplement

' big book in every sense. . . . An age of such panoramic creations deserves a chronicler with suitably panoramic inclinations. It has found a very able one in Jurgen Osterhammel.'--Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Wall Street Journal

'A milestone of German historical writing, one of the most important historical books of the last several decades. . . .mosaic-like portrait of an epoch.'--Jrgen Kocka, Die Zeit

'eighty in every sense of the word. . . . N epic, masterly and sprawling mosaic of the age that built on, if only as reaction, foundations laid down by the Enlightenment. . . . Osterhammel's compelling structuring brings home that the way we understand the world today is largely determined by institutions and innovations of the 19th century--and a peculiarly Eurocentric lens they provide. Alive to the potential for bias that this inevitably brings, the German historian has taken pains to create a genuinely world history of the age. . . . He rendering of such a mind-boggling tapestry of human experience is deft and accessible.'--Ben Richardson, South China Morning Post

' 1165 pp. German Braudel-like take on the importance of the 19th century.'--Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution

'fast, weighty, original, enthralling, exhausting and intimidating. . . . T is impossible to do it full and adequate justice, even in a lengthy review such as this. Part monster-piece, part masterpiece, its limitations are inescapably those of the global history genre. . . . T is a work of prodigious scholarship and astonishing authorial stamina; within the confines of the subject, it raises the study of global history to a new level of academic sophistication and geographical comprehensiveness; it abounds with memorable phrases and aphorisms, which betoken a lively and playful mind; and it offers wise and original insights about the many ways in which the 19th century made the world that we still, today, inhabit. If you only read one work of history this summer (and, believe me, it will take you all of a very long summer), then The Transformation of the World should definitely be it.'--Sir David Cannadine, Financial Times

'Massive . . . Interesting . . . Impressive. . . . The coverage is in many respects much greater than that of Braudel, not only geographically but also conceptually. . . . Osterhammels ambition, industry and scale shows up the work of all-too-many other historians. Similar books should be produced for other centuries. Let us hope that British historians can rise to the challenge of writing them.'--Jeremy Black, Standpoint

'This superb study gives form to a global history that lasts from the late 18th well into the 20th century and it does so without oversimplifying. It is exhilarating to find a system builder with such a feeling for nuance and difference. The only study comparable is Christopher Bayly's The Birth of the Modern World. This thick, dense book will prove most useful for scholars; the history enthusiast will find there is no match for this resource. In it, there is much to appreciate.'--Library Journal (starred review)

' work of panoramic scope and rare historical imagination.'--Tony Barber, Financial Times

'Jrgen Osterhammel's fine The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century . . . Swoops, shimmies and carves ellipses and spirals through the facts to give readers an insightful view of the nineteenth century in all its complexity and confusion. In a great work of scholarship, Professor Osterhammel . . . And his able translator . . . Patrick Camiller have fashioned a remarkable picture of the nineteenth century. . . .brings a new meaning to the term block buster.'--Satyajit Das, naked capitalism

'Jrgen Osterhammel's rich and thoughtful book The Transformation of the World, skillfully translated by Patrick Camiller, has the great virtue of addressing with careful attention what was and was not transformed over the 19th century.'--Frederick Cooper, Public Books

'Writing meaningfully about global history is ambitious at best, but this work on the 19th century succeeds. . . . Nearly every page offers new insights about world history and specific countries' global contexts. This book is eminently suitable for advanced general readers and undergraduates and should be mandatory reading for all graduate students of modern history as a way to set their own specializations in a broader context.'--Choice

'There have been two massive history books published this year that deserve to be widely read. One is the English translation of The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century by the German historian Jrgen Osterhammel.'--Christopher Sylvester, Financial Times

'Professor Jurgen Osterhammel's fine book is anything but a linear recitation of events. Instead, it swoops, shimmies and carves ellipses and spirals through facts to give readers a remarkable picture of the 19th century, which has shaped much of the present world.'--Satyajit Das, Bloomberg Businessweek

'The patient reader who finishes this 1,000-page tour of the 19th century emerges with a richer, deeper grasp, a better sense of what is truly unique about the global village, and global Asia, of our own times. This is world history at its best.'--John Delury, Global Asia
Jürgen Osterhammel is professor of modern and contemporary history at the University of Konstanz. He is the coauthor of Globalization: A Short History and a coeditor of A History of the World.