The Middle Kingdoms
A New History of Central Europe
An essential new history of Central Europe, the contested lands so often at the heart of world history
Central Europe has long been infamous as a region beset by war, a place where empires clashed and world wars began. In The Middle Kingdoms, Martyn Rady offers the definitive history of the region, demonstrating that Central Europe has always been more than merely the fault line between West and East. Even as Central European powers warred with their neighbors, the region developed its own cohesive identity and produced tremendous accomplishments in politics, society, and culture. Central Europeans launched the Reformation and Romanticism, developed the philosophy of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, and advanced some of the twentieth century’s most important artistic movements.
Drawing on a lifetime of research and scholarship, The Middle Kingdoms tells as never before the captivating story of two thousand years of Central Europe’s history and its enduring significance in world affairs.
“[A] magisterial history.” —Peter Frankopan, Spectator
“This is a very impressive book, quirkily original but also scholarly and authoritative, to be read for pleasure and serious reflection.” —Daily Telegraph
“[A] masterly synthesis.” —Times (of London)
“[Rady's] history is full of stories and vignettes, personalities and ideas rather than grand theses. The result, built on a lifetime of scholarship and vast reading in multiple languages, vividly conveys the complexities and multi-faceted nature of central Europe.”—BBC History Magazine
“[A] repeatedly rewarding study…This book deserves attention.” —New Criterion
“An astonishing book…an authoritative scholarly account…Anecdotes, colorful stories and quotations, as well as the constant presence of Rady’s wise and engaging voice make this a rare book…This is an unparalleled resource for anyone concerned about the future of Europe and the history of its nations.”—Library Journal, starred review
“An ambitious survey of Central Europe from antiquity to the present day….evocative prose renders this complex history accessible. It’s a boon for anyone seeking insights into Central Europe’s influence on the modern world.” —Publishers Weekly
“A comprehensive approach to a subject as rich as it is complex… of service to everyman and specialists alike.” —Aspects of History