Europe’s Infrastructure Transition: Economy, War, Nature

by Per Högselius, Arne Kaijser and Erik van der Vleuten

Released November 2015


Europe’s Infrastructure Transition captures the conflicted story of European integration. We learn of the priorities set, the choices made in constructing infrastructure connections—within and beyond the continent. And we see how Europe’s infrastructure both united and divided people and places via economic systems as well as economic, military, and ecological crises.

Five reasons to buy this unique contribution to European history:

- This book retells and revises mainstream narratives of European integration by taking material networks as its point of departure;

- It explores how transport, communication and energy infrastructure was used by economic actors for creating transnational productions systems and by militaries for waging war in novel ways;

- It explains how and why Europe’s landscapes, waterscapes, and airscapes were transformed and turned into infrastructure;

- It introduces an alternative set of historical key individuals, organizations, and companies that have made modern Europe what it is;

- It analyzes roads both taken and untaken in the building of infrastructure connections within, across, and beyond the continent.


'In a richly-textured and original study, Högselius, van der Vleuten and Kaijser explore how system builders – engineers, officials, and others – made 19th and 20th century Europe. They built transport, energy, communication and other infrastructures. They believed in progress, in economic growth ending forever war, and in their ability to alter nature for the better. The authors show that, despite their bold utopian intentions, the builders encountered political uncertainties, national technical vulnerabilities, and unexpected and severe environmental costs that still have done little to dampen their enthusiasm. This book should be of interest to broad audiences.' – Paul R. Josephson, Colby College, USA

'At once finely detailed and ambitiously synthetic, this work reveals infrastructure as an agent of history. From the first railway tracks of the 1830s to migrants walking those tracks today, changing means of circulation have redefined the meaning of 'Europe.' This brave and persuasive history of infrastructure space will inspire similar studies of other regions.' – Rosalind H Williams, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

'A tour de force that marks a new era of Braudelian 'total history.' Probes the material roots of European modernity: the technological systems and networks that undergird today's Europe of integration, circulation, flows, borders, and barriers. Europe's Infrastructure Transition reveals the contradictory human aims that have made these systems powerful agents of historical and environmental change.' – Eda Kranakis, University of Ottawa, Canada

Take a look at the table of contents.