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In the shadow of the gods : the emperor in world history  Cover Image Book Book

In the shadow of the gods : the emperor in world history / Dominic Lieven.

Record details

  • ISBN: 9780735222199
  • ISBN: 0735222193
  • Physical Description: xxii, 500 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (chiefly color), maps ; 24 cm
  • Edition: First North American edition.
  • Publisher: New York : Viking, 2022.

Content descriptions

General Note:
"First published in hardcover in Great Britain by Allen Lane, in 2022."--Title page verso.
Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Formatted Contents Note:
Being an emperor -- Cradle of empire : the Ancient Near East and the world's first emperors -- The Persian emperors and Alexander of Macedon -- The Roman imperial monarchy -- Ashoka, India and the origins of Buddhism -- The origins of Chinese emperorship -- Nomads -- Imperial civilization and Chinese tradition : the Tang and Song Dynasties -- The Islamic Caliphate : the ultimate universal empire -- Charles V and Philip II : the first global Emperors -- Emperors, caliphs and sultans : the Ottoman Dynasty -- The Mughals : India's greatest dynasty -- China's last dynasties : the Ming and the Qing -- The Romanovs : dynastic, Russian, European and Eurasian emperors -- Europe on the eve of modernity : the Habsburgs, the French Revolution and Napoleon -- Emperors and modernity : 1815-1945.
Summary, etc.:
"A dazzling account of the men (and occasional woman) who led the world's empires, a book that probes the essence of leadership and power through the centuries and around the world. From the rise of Sargon of Akkad, who in the third millennium BCE ruled what is now Iraq and Syria, to the collapse of the great European empires in the twentieth century, the empire has been the dominant form of power in history. Dominic Lieven's expansive book explores strengths and failings of the human beings who held those empires together (or let them crumble). He projects the power, terror, magnificence, and confidence of imperial monarchy, tracking what they had in common as well as what made some rise to glory and others fail spectacularly, and at what price each destiny was reached. Lieven's characters-Constantine, Chinggis Khan, Trajan, Suleyman, Hadrian, Louis XIV, Maria Theresa, Peter the Great, Queen Victoria, and dozens more-come alive with color, energy, and detail: their upbringings, their loves, their crucial spouses, their dreadful children. They illustrate how politics and government are a gruelling business: a ruler needed stamina, mental and physical toughness, and self-confidence. He or she needed the sound judgement of problems and people which is partly innate but also the product of education and experience. A good brain was essential for setting priorities, weighing conflicting advice, and matching ends to needs. A diplomatically astute marriage was often even more essential. Emperors (and the rare empresses) could be sacred symbols, warrior kings, political leaders, chief executive officers of the government machine, heads of a family, and impresarios directing the many elements of "soft power" essential to any regime's survival. What was it like to live and work in such an extraordinary role? What qualities did it take to perform this role successfully? Lieven traces the shifting balance among these elements across eras that encompass a staggering array of events from the rise of the world's great religions to the scientific revolution, the expansion of European empires across oceans, the great twentieth century conflicts, and the triumph of nationalism over imperialism"-- Provided by publisher.
Subject: Emperors > Biography.
Kings and rulers > Biography.
Imperialism > History.
World history.
Empereurs > Biographies.
Genre: Biographies.

Available copies

  • 3 of 3 copies available at Missouri Evergreen. (Show)
  • 1 of 1 copy available at North Kansas City.


  • 0 current holds with 3 total copies.
Show Only Available Copies
Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
North Kansas City Public Library 352.23092 LIEVEN 2022 (Text) 0001002418158 Nonfiction New Available -

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