I'm not a historian at all but would be interested in reading not-too-technical (accessible and "enjoyable" for non-historians) books about a "global" history of nations; or maybe as approximation a history of european nations, or a history of east-asian nations, or any book that sort of adresses the question of how national feelings are born and evolve throughout history.

Let me give an example of what I mean : Germany, as a nation-state, is of course a very modern idea, but as a nation (or proto-nation) has been here for much longer, namely there has been for much longer a sense that such and such people were Germans or "germanic" whatever that may mean.

And this notion may seem anachronistic, and such a book would also adress this point, namely how the earlier notions of "German" compare to the modern idea (which revolves, I guess, around stuff like language, culture, and a shared history).

I used Germany as an example but I'm interested in a broader analysis as I indicated above, ideally something that covers groups of nations that developed similarly to some extent, or even globally an analysis of "all nations", which would compare different evolutions of this notion and not focus on a specific country, studying the similarities and differences between, I don't know, the German national feeling and the Chinese national feeling.

It would be very nice if such books could focus on political things (nation-states, or approximations thereof) but also more cultural things (national feeling) and how they relate; and study the very idea of "nation".

Hopefully I made myself clear and this question is appropriate - of course I don't expect books that do exactly what I want.

Thanks in advance !


1 Answer 1


I think there is one such book that is somewhat closer to what you are expecting from a history book. The Histories of Nations: How Their Identities Were Forged.

From the description given under the book.

Histories of Nations tells the stories of 28 countries ranging from ancient nations like Egypt and China to the US, Sweden and Ghana. The book is a collection of the abridged history and commentary on these countries and is edited by Peter Furtado. It also covers Germany, Turkey and the UK as well as younger states like the US and Brazil, as well as smaller nations like the Czech Republic and Israel. With each chapter written by a historian from the respective country, the book’s disparate collection of national histories is a fascinating and insightful combination.

You are expecting a book that is "accessible and "enjoyable" for non-historians) books about a "global" history of nations " so there is a review of this book that tells us more about how it is written in the way that approximately meet your requirements.

The book is a great way of understanding these countries, not just their history but about how their societies and values were forged. It’s also a fun way to learn more about countries like Finland, Russia, and Hungary, some of which usually don’t get covered in the news or popular media.

This book is sort of autobiographies of the nation/state, told by historians from their respective countries. The countries coverd are.

Egypy ,Iran , India , Greece , China , Ireland , Spain , France ,Russia ,The Czech Republic ,Poland ,Hungary, Turky ,Brazil Mexico, Swden, Great Britain ,The United States, Australia, Ghana , Funland ,Argentina , Canada, Italy , Japan ,Germany Israel.

This is a not a open source book and is only available for purchase.

  • 1
    Thank you for your answer, this looks great ! Do you know if this book contains comparisons as well between various nations, or do you know other books that explore the similarities and differences between how different nations were forged ?
    – Maxime
    May 29, 2021 at 18:19
  • @Maxime - Sorry to say that but I have no idea about the comparisons since I haven't read it myself. I just tried to find a book according to your choice. But still I will surely try to find an open source book that has . May 30, 2021 at 13:20

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