The New York Times
1848: Year of Revolutionby Mike Rapport
In 1848, a violent storm of revolutions ripped through Europe. The torrent all but swept away the conservative order that had kept peace on the continent since Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo in 1815but which in many countries had also suppressed dreams of national freedom. Political events so dramatic had not been seen in Europe since the French Revolution,… See more details below
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In 1848, a violent storm of revolutions ripped through Europe. The torrent all but swept away the conservative order that had kept peace on the continent since Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo in 1815but which in many countries had also suppressed dreams of national freedom. Political events so dramatic had not been seen in Europe since the French Revolution, and they would not be witnessed again until 1989, with the revolutions in Eastern and Central Europe.
In 1848, historian Mike Rapport examines the roots of the ferment and then, with breathtaking pace, chronicles the explosive spread of violence across Europe. A vivid narrative of a complex chain of interconnected revolutions, 1848 tells the exhilarating story of Europe’s violent Spring of Nations” and traces its reverberations to the present day.
The New York Times
Rapport (history, Univ. of Stirling; Shape of the World) skillfully unravels a complex series of cataclysmic events that swept over Europe in 1848, forever changing the lives of millions. Surging population growth, economic collapse, and oppressive regimes were just a few of the factors that led to the spontaneous ignition of revolutionary fires that January. Street barricades went up in Paris, Berlin, Vienna, and other autocratic capitals of Europe. From Sicily to Slovakia, the disempowered demanded civil rights, enfranchisement, and constitutional governance. In many cases initial demands met with success, but by the end of the year the autocrats of Europe regained their footing and, after horrendous bloodshed, their dominance. By 1851 the hopes of a new order were shattered, but, as Rapport stresses, profound changes had been made. For example, in the eastern reaches of Europe, the medieval institution of serfdom was finally abolished. The author also maintains that the ideals of 1848-liberty, democracy, civil society, nationhood-were at last fulfilled in the 1989 uprisings against the Soviet hegemony. Rapport mixes his lucid narrative with astute analysis based on memoirs, eyewitness accounts, and secondary sources. While his work does not surpass Jonathan Sperber's excellent The European Revolutions, 1848-1851, Rapport's study is a worthy and affordable addition to any modern European history collection.
Wall Street Journal
“A fully nuanced portrait of a tumultuous year.”
New York Times
“A lively, panoramic new history ... a good yarn, with a keen eye for ground-level details.”
“Absorbing ... anyone wishing a vivid account of a crucial period in European history can spend many hours engrossed in this book.”
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Meet the Author
Mike Rapport is a Lecturer in History at the University of Stirling and the author of Nationality and Citizenship in Revolutionary France and Nineteenth-Century Europe. He lives in Stirling, Scotland.
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