Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Peoples and Empires: A Short History of European Migration, Exploration, and Conquest, from Greece to the Present” as Want to Read:
Peoples and Empires: A Short History of European Migration, Exploration, and Conquest, from Greece to the Present
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Peoples and Empires: A Short History of European Migration, Exploration, and Conquest, from Greece to the Present (Modern Library Chronicles #6)

3.26  ·  Rating Details  ·  121 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Written by one of the world’s foremost historians of human migration, Peoples and Empires is the story of the great European empires—the Roman, the Spanish, the French, the British—and their colonies, and the back-and-forth between “us” and “them,” culture and nature, civilization and barbarism, the center and the periphery. It’s the history of how conquerors justified con ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 7th 2003 by Modern Library (first published 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Peoples and Empires, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Peoples and Empires

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 291)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Feb 07, 2015 Becky rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
The book is organized more or less chronologically, with thematic chapters--for instance, Slavery. It's a challenging read because of all the references to individuals whose names are not familiar to me, as well as the academic writing style. What was most interesting was the author's observations about the different kinds of empire that have existed throughout history. For example, the aims and methods of the establishment of the Roman Empire were quite different from those of the ocean voyages ...more
Dhs Sparrell
Nov 29, 2014 Dhs Sparrell rated it really liked it
Pagdan's _Peoples and Empires_ takes us on a whirlwind tour through the history of western civilization, tracing what Pagden calls "empire." The empires the book covers include: Rome, Spain, Great Britian.

The beauty of the book is not only it's *introduction* to analysis of the concept of empire throughout history, but it's succinct and short account of western civilization.
David R.
May 28, 2014 David R. rated it liked it
Shelves: world-history
A fairly tedious recitation of empires from Alexander the Great to the British Empire. One can summarize this one as "Rome was pretty good but all the rest -- and especially that British one(!) are horrid! Surface facts are right, but the thinking is shallow and dogmatic.
Donald Linnemeyer
Oct 08, 2011 Donald Linnemeyer rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-general
This book was a lot of fun. In just over 150 pages, Pagden offers a history of empire since Alexander the Great, and he does so without ignoring nuance and detail. He has a gift for picking the right pace, for choosing when to focus on details and when to fly through hundreds of years in a few paragraphs. Nothing ground-breaking or anything, but a really pleasant read.

Though the epilogue, hastily tacked on after 9-11, was atrocious and did manage to sacrifice nuance. It leaves a bad taste in you
Apr 17, 2010 Tim rated it really liked it
A brief and breezy book that recounts the history of western empire from Alexander to the modern day, noting its advantages and pleasures as well as its sins. To say breezy is not to diminish its seriousness (with topics like slavery, racism and ethnic cleansing it has to be), but to say that it is well-written, opinionated, and at times even funny. Of course it is not comprehensive, instead you must trust the author to provide an apt tour. And he does. An excellent history for a plane ride or t ...more
If you are not well-verse with the great ancient empires and history of the West, you may find it difficult to grasp the content of the book. Mr Pagden drops in numerous famous figures of the Western World on average 3-5 new people per page sometimes without introducing the readers to them. Nevertheless, this book for people who are aware of the history of the Western World may find it a breeze and may find it a useful guide to connect together the stories of the great empires (even though it is ...more
Nov 09, 2015 Deborah rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Some interesting points but mostly just generalities.
Chase Parsley
Aug 01, 2013 Chase Parsley rated it it was amazing
Pagden does a wonderful job outlining the course of history in this book. A must-read for the novice historian, Pagden discusses the major points of the human experience with easily understood prose. Great for anyone who teaches world history as Pagden makes many overlapping points clear to the reader. One part of the book I enjoyed was how Pagden spent as much time talking about why Spain declined as a power as why they became powerful...he really gets to the root of historical themes.
Jan 19, 2010 Vivek rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
I'll admit that it must be difficult to produce a satisfying work about Empires in as little space as this book had to work with. But except for two or three chapters I found this book boring and unfocused. It doesn't do justice to any of the "empires" or "peoples" discussed, and definitely doesn't do a good job giving the reader a comprehensive look at (Western) empires through the ages. I learned a little from this book, but I'm not sure if it was worth reading.
Feb 16, 2011 Marco rated it liked it
I know a lot of the material in this book, but the narrative put it altogether for me, as well as filled in some gaps that I didn't know. A good addition to understanding the modern state of the world. My criticism would have to be that at times the author puts a lot of his opinions into the narrative, though I can understand why it would be difficult not to.
Oct 22, 2009 Uncleg rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Discussion of European empires and their effects on world civilization, beginning with Alexander the Great. Greatest emphasis is on the Roman Empire and on the colonial empires of Britain and France. Recorded Books. Read by Robert O’Keefe.
Sep 09, 2012 Joshua rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very brief but well written account of a large swath of history.
Apr 06, 2013 Phoenix2 rated it really liked it
Very easy to read, even for a history book.
J. M.
Jul 04, 2011 J. M. rated it really liked it
Excellent and beautily written
Tomáš Zemko
Tomáš Zemko marked it as to-read
Aug 28, 2016
Rolando Lamb Jr.
Rolando Lamb Jr. marked it as to-read
Aug 16, 2016
Poornima Farrar
Poornima Farrar rated it liked it
Aug 13, 2016
Abanob Yohana
Abanob Yohana marked it as to-read
Jul 30, 2016
Rachel marked it as to-read
Jul 26, 2016
Whatwhenwhere marked it as to-read
Jun 14, 2016
Josh Watts
Josh Watts marked it as to-read
Jun 03, 2016
Rgauthie marked it as to-read
May 30, 2016
Tom added it
May 16, 2016
Justin LaMont
Justin LaMont marked it as to-read
May 13, 2016
Stephanie Kollgaard
Stephanie Kollgaard rated it really liked it
May 05, 2016
tm1906 marked it as to-read
Apr 19, 2016
Crops rated it it was amazing
Jul 26, 2016
Pat Winter
Pat Winter marked it as to-read
Apr 17, 2016
Matt Giddings
Matt Giddings rated it really liked it
Apr 10, 2016
Pete added it
Apr 01, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • American Exodus the Dust Bowl Migration and Okie Culture in California
  • Made in America: Immigrant Students in Our Public Schools
  • The Power of Place: Geography, Destiny, and Globalization's Rough Landscape
  • The Americas: A Hemispheric History
  • Bitter Chocolate: Investigating the Dark Side of the World's Most Seductive Sweet
  • The Good Society: The Humane Agenda
  • The Crime of Sheila McGough
  • Asylum Denied: A Refugee's Struggle for Safety in America
  • Biografi: A Traveler's Tale
  • Power Concedes Nothing: One Woman's Quest for Social Justice in America, from the Courtroom to the Kill Zones
  • The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths That Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism
  • The Invisible Heart: Economics and Family Values
  • Losing Our Cool: Uncomfortable Truths About Our Air-Conditioned World (and Finding New Ways to Get Through the Summer)
  • Islam Explained
  • Going Sane: Maps of Happiness
  • Cities in Civilization
  • Fires in the Middle School Bathroom: Advice to Teachers from Middle Schoolers
  • Fear: A Cultural History
Anthony Pagden was educated in Santiago (Chile), London, Barcelona and Oxford and holds a B.A.. M.A. and D.Phil. from the University of Oxford. He has been a free-lance translator and a publisher in Paris a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, Senior Research Fellow of the Warburg Institute (London), Professor of History at the European University Institute (Florence), University Reader in Intellectu ...more
More about Anthony Pagden...

Other Books in the Series

Modern Library Chronicles (1 - 10 of 34 books)
  • The Renaissance: A Short History
  • Islam: A Short History
  • The Balkans: A Short History
  • The German Empire, 1870-1918 (Modern Library Chronicles)
  • The Catholic Church: A Short History
  • Communism: A History
  • Hitler and the Holocaust
  • The American Revolution: A History
  • Law in America: A Short History
  • Inventing Japan: 1853-1964

Share This Book