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In his Wiles Lectures for 1977 Professor Roberts examines some of the problems raised by Sweden's brief career as a great power, and seeks to answer some of the questions that flow from them. Were the underlying considerations which prompted the unexpected development geopolitical, or social, or economic? How was it possible to produce the financial resources and the manpower which the enterprise demanded? How far was seventeenth-century Sweden a militarized society? What importance had official propaganda and national myths? Did the consititutional situation help to make an expansionist foreign policy easier? The structure of the empire is next examined: its administration, the ties that held it together, the differing interests of the provinces, the varying responses of the metropolitan power was there, in fact, anything deserving the name of an imperial policy? How did the provinces view the Swedish connexion? In a final chapter the author tries to answer the question why, if Sweden could acquire an empire without undue strain, she could not retain it; why the collapse was so rapid and so total; and whether her career as a great power had real relevance to the country's subsequent history. On almost all these topics little information is available in English, and no comparable treatment of them on this scale exists in any language.
Reviews & endorsements
'Professor Michael Roberts is our foremost English expert in Swedish history … he writes with elegance and wit, likes a paradox and loves a fight, so that his work, while factually informative, is highly readable and delights by its controversial tone … [This] is a rich book … a beautifully composed and extremely satisfying review of the whole field.' English Historical ReviewSee more reviews
'Professor Roberts has clearly provided both a wealth of stimulating argument for those already acquainted with the subject, and, for a wider public, a succinct and clearly argued introduction to this important theme in early modern European history.' History Today
' … essential reading for every early modernist working in the history of Europe.' The Historian
' … a masterly, most readable new summary and analysis … the presentation is lucid, convincing, a tribute to the author, and a gain for the student of European history.' American Historical Review
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- Date Published: April 1984
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521278898
- length: 172 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 10 mm
- weight: 0.26kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
List of maps
1. The making of the empire
2. Resources, material and moral
3. The character of the empire
4. The unmaking of the empire.
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