The Mediterranean:
And the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II

Fernand Braudel

translated from the French by Siân Reynolds
HarperCollins 1992 [1966]
A book review by Danny Yee © 1996
I generally avoid abridgements (the last one I can remember reading was, oddly enough, Somervell's two volume abbreviation of Toynbee's A Study of History). But Ollard's abridgement of Braudel's The Mediterranean, on sale, was too hard to resist. The biggest drawback to it is that the footnotes (containing all the references) have been omitted completely, making the volume useless to historians and students of history. For the non-specialist, however, the addition of over 300 black and white photographs and 16 pages of colour photographs (on top of the maps and graphs in the original) will more than compensate for this.

The Mediterranean opens with a geographical tour of the Mediterranean world, of its mountains, plateaux, plains, coasts, seas, and boundaries and the way these have influenced its history. It closes with brief accounts of its civilizations, its empires, and the forms of its wars. The core of the work is, however, an economic and social history of the "long sixteenth century", in a style similar to that of Braudel's later Civilization and Capitalism. Personally this volume has only whetted my appetite for more and I intend to read the full work, but it is a great starting point for those intrigued by the Mediterranean (or the Renaissance) and seeking an introduction to its social and economic history.

March 1996

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%T The Mediterranean
%S And the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II
%A Braudel, Fernand
%E Ollard, Richard
%M French
%F Reynolds, Siân
%I HarperCollins
%D 1992 [1966]
%O hardcover, b&w and colour photos, abridged, index
%G ISBN 0002159430
%P xiv,690pp,16pp colour photos