This landmark study of European international politics is a worthy complement to A.J.P. Taylor's classic The Struggle for Mastery in Europe 1848-1918. Paul Schroeder's comprehensive and authoritative addition to the Oxford History of Modern Europe charts the course of international history over the turbulent era of 1763-1848 in which the map of Europe and much of the world was redrawn time and again. Schroeder examines the wars, political crises, and intricate diplomatic transactions of the age, many of which, especially the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, and the Congress of Vienna and its aftermath, had far-reaching consequences for modern Europe.
Schroeder also provides a new sharply revisionist account of the course of international politics over these years and a major reinterpretation of the structure and operation of the international system. He shows how the practice of international politics was transformed in revolutionary ways with extensive and beneficial effects. The Vienna Settlement established peace, he demonstrates, by abandoning, not restoring, the competitive balance-of-power politics of the eighteenth century, and devising a new political equilibrium in its stead. A European consensus on a new political balance was developed, with new rules to maintain it, ushering in a uniquely peaceful, progressive period in European international politics. This wide-ranging and penetrating study will be of great interest to historians, political scientists, and students of international relations.