The fall of Metternic in the revolutions which swept Europe in 1948 heralded an era of unprecedented nationalism, which culminated in the collapse of the Halbsburg, Romanav, and Hohenszollern dynasties at the of the First World War. In the intervening seventy years which are the subject of this book, the boundaries of Europe changed dramatically from those established at Vienna in 1815: Cavour championed the cause of Risorgimento in Italy; Bismarck brought about the unification of Germany; while the Great Powers scrambled for a place in the sun in Africa.
In this, one of his most enduring works, A.J.P. Taylor shows how the changing balance of power determined the course of European History, during this, the last age when Europe was the centre of world history. Throughout, Taylor's narrative is so vivid that the book is as much a work of literature as a contribution to historical scholarship.