"This is an impressive work of synthesis which tracks more than a century of bourgeois life in Europe. And the bourgeois world Seigel conjures is a complex one, born of ever more tightly woven patterns of communication and exchange, never fixed but changing over time, and always an unstable mix of the structured and the fluid. Rarely has the subject been treated with such sweep and sympathy."
Philip Nord, Princeton University
"A virtuoso performance in a powerful survey with an eye for the telling contrast and the shrewd comparison: England - at once the most bourgeois and the least; France - homeland of revolution yet slow to change, and Germany, where bourgeois politics was expressed by not yet modern bourgeois classes."
Donald Sassoon, Queen Mary, University of London
"Jerrold Seigel dazzles the reader with an array of original arguments across European time and space, and gives new credibility to transformational claims for Western Europe's middle classes. He convincingly shows how the articulation of new bourgeois networks in various spheres of activity cumulatively altered European society and culture."
Isser Woloch, Columbia University
"Jerry Seigel’s ambitious and important new book offers a fresh interpretation of Europe’s ‘great transformation’ (1750–1914) that is as cogent as it is challenging. Immensely learned, vividly detailed and impressively comprehensive, Modernity and Bourgeois Life combines a broad synthesis of the social and cultural history of modern western Europe with an original and compelling argument regarding the place of bourgeois actors in the gradual and uneven emergence of modern life in economic, cultural and political realms. Beautifully written and sharply argued, Seigel’s narrative is shot through with luminous insights, telling individual portraits and clear and engaging explanations of sometimes quite difficult material. A pleasure to read, Modernity and Bourgeois Life invites its readers on a genial voyage of discovery, or re-discovery, of recent European landscapes they thought they already knew."
Laura Lee Downs, École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris
"In this masterful interpretation of modern European history, Seigel (emer., NYU) persuasively and lucidly argues that the essence of change has been the growth and transformation of the bourgeoisie … This work belongs in every academic library; it also deserves to be taken off the shelves and read by all students of European history. Uncommonly good. Summing up: highly recommended."