In This Review

The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815–1914
The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815–1914
By Richard J. Evans
Viking, 2016, 848 pp

Everything about The Pursuit of Power affirms a traditional approach to history. Written by one of the most eminent historians of Germany, it imposes a coherent schema on the story of Europe during a period of 100 years bookended by two massive wars. In this period, Evans argues, every country encountered similar political, economic, social, and cultural challenges, even if the timing and details of their specific responses varied. In his lively, fact-laden, and nuanced prose, Evans focuses on the relentless quest for power by nations, classes, political leaders, scientists, economic actors, artists, and everyday individuals. The search for power transformed everything, from the most intimate acts in the bedroom to the creation of empires.