Meet 35 of the most influential people who lived during the 200 most difficult years in the history of the West. Between the years 1715 and 1914, the lives of these artists, writers, scientists, and leaders shaped our times and reflected their own. You'll meet such figures as Charles Darwin, Sir Robert Walpole, David Lloyd George, Mary Wollstonecraft, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, Napoleon Bonaparte, and others whose lives represent the crucial forces that shaped European history during two decisive centuries. You'll also examine the transformation of Europe from a world of lord and serf, horse and carriage, superstition and disease into today's modern state of boss and worker, steam and steel, science and medicine. As you grow to understand the living context of European history, you appreciate the great transforming themes embodied by the people who populate this fascinating march. The two most important themes are the movement toward democracy-culminating in the French Revolution-that dominated the first of the two centuries covered, and the Industrial Revolution with the explosion of science and technology that dominated the second. In choosing the characters whose lives most reflect these themes, Professor Steinberg has not confined himself to those who are most often studied-monarchs, politicians, military leaders-but has included scientists, artists, philosophers, and industrialists, and even an entire population threatened with starvation-the Irish.With a fascinating approach to European history, the biographical approach of these 36 lectures provides a fun way to look at the great changes of the period and to educate ourselves about the world.