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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

the battle occurred. A valuable asset to those interested in naval
history or in the Spanish-American War, the volume may be
obtained by writing the Naval Historical Foundation, c/o Office
of Naval Records and Library, Navy Department, Washington
25, D. C.
Austin, Texas
A History of Modern Europe. By Thad W. Riker. New York
(Alfred A. Knopf), 1948. Pp. xiii, 835, xxxiv. Text, $5.00;
trade, $6.75.
To provide a foundation of historical knowledge for an under-
standing of the fix in which Europe finds itself at the midpoint
of the twentieth century-surely no more formidable task has
ever confronted the historian! My admiration for the way Pro-
fessor Riker has handled this assignment is commensurate with
my sense of its magnitude and difficulty. His History of Modern
Europe is a triumph both of organization and of interpretation.
Although the author nowhere calls attention to this fact, his
book divides itself into two equal parts, the first of which looks
back to the old Europe and seeks to identify the forces that were
at work in it, while the second looks forward to our own day and
seeks to understand the processes in which the present outcome
was implicit. Defining his "main task," in the Preface, as that of
showing "how institutions have evolved," he has addressed him-
self more to social movements than to persons or even datable
events. Only the first of the two parts that comprise the first half
of the book is organized by areas. In this he probes far back into
the Middle Ages for the origins of the Great Powers that were to
come. Thereafter organization is by "periods," the remainder of
the first half of the book, as I have called it, being "The Era of
Revolution" (French, industrial, and nationalist), and the whole
second half of the book that of "The Dynamic Era."
These periods, and their many subdivisions, are not mere
chronological compartments. As Professor Riker remarks in the
Preface, they overlap to some extent; but reflection on their con-
tents does indeed "serve to show the essential unity of each
division." It does so because each is identified with a clearly des-


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 2, 2016.

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