The Corrupting Sea: A Study of Mediterranean History (Anglais) Broché – 14 janvier 2000
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Description du produit
Revue de presse
"In their book The Corrupting Sea, Horden and Purcell have engaged in one of the most relentless intellectual reassessments to have been undertaken in recent times of the history of the pre–industrial Mediterranean. One seldom emerges from a book as rich as this, having had so many firmly–held notions shaken out of one′s mind and having glimpsed so many enthralling new vistas on a once–familiar past." Professor Peter Brown, Princeton University
"To bring together the economic and social history of so many periods and places within the great story of the Mediterranean is a remarkable achievement and Peregrine Horden and Nicholas Purcell should be congratulated upon it." Professor Colin Renfrew, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge
"In recreating the Mediterranean for the new millennium, the authors offer a substantial achievement that challenges many long–held assumptions not only about the Mediterranean, but also about human relations with the environment and even the very nature of historical writing. It certainly deserves to provoke discussion among scholars from fields as broad as its own grand scope." Times Higher Education Supplement
"The Corrupting Sea is a book of magisterial synthesis and scholarship – a huge multi–disciplinary literature turned into a narrative that is at once comprehensive, enjoyable, quirky and thought–provoking." Antiquity
"This book will be indispensable for the serious student of the Mediterranean past and present." CHOICE
"This is an important book that presents a powerful and original model of Mediterranean history that will be used, debated, and criticized by historians of all periods for years to come." English Historical Review
"Horden and Purcell′s new Mediterranean panorama, which will take a generation of historians to digest and implement, forms one of those manifest watersheds in the study of antiquity." Journal of Roman Archaeology
"This book amounts to an often fascinating, and unerringly useful, compendium." International History Review
"Here a generation of ecological historians ... has led the way. Horden and Purcell have synthesized that literature, extended its reach into the Middle Ages, and made it accessible to the general medievalist." Speculum
"This impressive work synthesizes a vast amount of historical, geographical, archaelogical, and ethnographic knowledge about the Mediterranean region." Historical Geography
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Commentaires en ligne
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This tome is one for which the adjective "magisterial" was coined; the authors seem to be very much aware of this, as some of the prose can seem pompous and unnecessarily abstruse, peppered liberally with quotations from other languages which Horden and Purcell have not bothered to translate for the mere peasants reading their book. Quibbles aside, this book is the very definition of 'essential reading'.
I like reading history. I enjoy with it. I am not a professional historian. In the last few years I have tried and read books offering a broad scope and general overviews of history such as this one.
In this work, the authors intend to study Mediterranean history as a whole, the history of the region. For them, the Mediterranean is only loosely defined, distinguishable from its neighbours to degrees that vary with time, geographical direction and topic. Its boundaries are not the sort to be drawn easily on a map. Its continuities are best thought of continuities of form or pattern, within which all is mutability.
In that sense, the distinctiveness of Mediterranean history results (they propose) from the paradoxical coexistence of a milieu of relatively easy seaborne communications with a quite unusually fragmented topography of microregions in the sea's coastlands and islands. The different chapters of the book are aimed to impressionistically show some of the prime ingredients in the normal variability and connectivity of Mediterranean microregions: the shifting along a spectrum of possibilities; the fluctuating relations between pastoralism and agriculture; the manipulative state with its taxes and symbols; the mobility of people both voluntarily -economic migration- and compulsory -military service- (not necessarily very distinct); a history of Mediterranean redistribution as inseparable from that of the people (who are often profoundly mobile) who produce, store, process, transport and consume.
The authors also warn that several central topics have been reserved for a Volume 2 to come in the future: climate, disease, demography and the relations between the Mediterranean and other major areas of the globe.
I have rated it four starts. Considering its content, I think it should be five; considering its readability, three (sometimes falling to two, sometimes raising to four).
Other books of "global history" I would recommend to read are "The Rise of the West" by William H. McNeill, "World History. A new perspective" by Clive Ponting, "The Great Divergence", by Kenneth Pomeranz, "The Dynamics of Global Dominance. European Overseas Empires 1415-1980", by David Abernethy and "The History of Government", by S.E. Finer.
This work is a must read for everyone who is interested in the Mediterranean --classicists and medievalists in particular. Every public library in the world would be well advised to purchase a copy. In addition to the narrative that is replete with extensive commentary, the volume has a very useful set of bibliographical essays as well as the normal scholarly apparatus.
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