BOOK REVIEWS Thomson, J. K. J., Decline in History. The European Experience (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1998), xiv + 225 pp., £19.00, ISBN 0 7456 14256. Motyl, Alexander J., Imperial Ends. The Decay, Collapse, and Revival of Empires (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001), 163 pp., $35.00, ISBN 0 231 12110 5. These two books very clearly reflect the difference in method and tone between history and political science. Thomson, reader in history at Sussex, is very open to theoretical speculation, but, essentially, this is a work about Mediterranean decline, especially in the early modern period. Motyl, professor of political science at Rutgers, is a noted Sovietologist, and his work is, throughout, theoretical and is also particularly moti- vated by the present, in particular by the decline of the Soviet empire. As far as the scope of this journal is concerned, Motyl's work is too late in its period of study and I will therefore focus on Thomson, although it is worth pointing out that the theoretical discussion in Motyl is of wider relevance. He prefers structural accounts and offers a refresh- ingly explicit explanation of his preferences. It is worth quoting at length: I treated empires as systems
Journal of Early Modern History – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2002
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