Scientific article
Book review
Open access

[Review of:] The Alps: An Environmental History. By Jon Mathieu

Published inMountain Research and Development, vol. 40, no. 1
Publication date2020

Jon Mathieu is to Alpine history what Werner Bätzing (eg Bätzing 2015) is to Alpine geography—that is, arguably the most accomplished and influential scholar of our time in his discipline. Is Mathieu to the Alps what Braudel is to the Mediterranean? Only time will tell if this book will have the same impact for the history of European civilization and for historiography as La Méditerranée (Braudel 1949). It is not that there is a lack of references to the French maître in this book. The index mentions 6 places, including 3 long passages, where Mathieu tries to do justice to Braudel's infamous dismissal of the Alps as being at the margins of European history. Mathieu is not the first scholar to dispute Braudel's provocative assertion, but The Alps is arguably one of the most eloquent arguments against it. It differs from Bätzing's perspective as it does not claim any centrality of the Alps for European history. Rather, it adopts the viewpoint of the exceptionality of the Alps from all perspectives, portraying the region as a laboratory where the past, present, and future of Europe are forged.

  • Alps
  • Mountain
  • Geography
  • Environmental history
Citation (ISO format)
CHURCH, Jon Marco, BARUFFA, Chloé. [Review of:] The Alps: An Environmental History. By Jon Mathieu. In: Mountain Research and Development, 2020, vol. 40, n° 1. doi: 10.1659/mrd.mm250.1
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0276-4741

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