Fresh and brilliant, this is the book that completely redefines the founding era. As the 1790s began, America was struggling to survive at home and abroad, and the world was gripped by an arc of revolutionary fervor stretching from Philadelphia and Paris to St. Petersburg and Cairo--with fatal results. While a fragile United States teetered on the brink of oblivion, Russia towered as a vast imperial power, the Islamic peoples were gearing for war, and France plunged into monumental revolution. In The Great Upheaval
, acclaimed historian Jay Winik masterfully illuminates how their fates combined in one extraordinary moment to change the course of civilization and bequeath us the nation--indeed, the world--we've inherited. Below we see a brief taste of the incredible events and people who shaped this most memorable of decades.
A Timeline of The Great Upheaval
|1787 || ||George Washington and the founders gather in Philadelphia to create the Constitution. Meanwhile, Russia's Empress Catherine the Great prepares her bloody assault on the Islamic Ottoman Empire, thus unleashing the first modern holy war between Islam and Christianity.|
|1789 || ||When the Bastille falls, it is a sound heard around the world: George Washington is sent the key to the fortress, while upon the hearing the news, Russians dance in the streets. King Louis XVI asks, "Is this a revolt?" and is told, "No sire, it's a revolution." |
|1791-92 || ||Having helped midwife the American rebels to independence, an outraged Catherine seeks to stamp out the French Revolutionary menace. Undaunted, a radicalized France soon declares, "war on the castles, peace on the cottages," triggering a savage world war that lasts 21 years and costs millions of lives. || || |
| President George Washington |
|1793 || ||George Washington receives Revolutionary France's new envoy, Citizen Genet, who audaciously seeks to foment insurrection at America's borders, pitting American against American. |
An ocean away, the French king, who had been America's staunchest ally, is beheaded.
|1794 || ||The Whiskey Rebellion begins, threatening civil war in America. To Washington's chagrin, as the Terror heats up in France, the Whiskey Rebels in Pennsylvania carry mock guillotines, shoot up likenesses of George Washington, and threaten to march on Philadelphia. Washington frantically assembles a force larger than used at Yorktown. || || |
| The excecution of King Louis XVI |
|1795 || ||Catherine's armies carve up the ancient kingdom of Poland, where the rebellion was led by a hero of the American revolution, Thaddeus Kosiusko, sending a dire signal to the infant American Republic about the perils of military weakness. |
|1797-98 || ||As Napoleon's armies ominously devour Europe "leaf by leaf," president John Adams fears the young republic will be invaded next. With war fever gripping the country, the administration harshly represses civil liberties. |
|1800 || ||In the most contested election in U.S. history, military forces are mobilized and the nation again hangs on the precipice of civil war. But unlike in France and Russia, America manages an unprecedented first--a peaceful transfer of power between antagonists, making Thomas Jefferson America's third president. || || |
| Empress Catherine the Great |
From Publishers Weekly
The years 1788 to 1800 must be numbered among the most tumultuous in history, as bestselling author Winik (April 1865
) magnificently demonstrates in this aptly titled book. The nascent United States, tormented by three rebellions of its own, tottered as France descended into bloody terror and imperial Russia fought the Ottomans. Republicanism, liberalism, democracy, nationalism, as well as authoritarianism: all these potent ideologies, whose effects remain with us, sprouted from this fertile soil.The emphasis on Russian and French affairs marks Winik as being in the forefront of a growing campaign to globalize America's national history: to view the larger age and frame the story as one continuous, interlocking narrative rather than to focus myopically on events in the United States. The world then was far more interconnected than we realize, Winik writes. [G]reat nations and leaders were acutely conscious of one another.In this version, Washington, Jefferson and Adams no longer receive exclusive star billing, but instead share the stage with such greats as the Empress Catherine, the doomed Louis XVI, Robespierre, Napoleon and Kosciuszko. If there is a criticism to be made of this approach, it is that Winik has greatly underplayed the importance of Britain in the struggle for global mastery and the quest for international order.Buttressed by impeccable research, vividly narrated and deftly organized, this is popular history of the highest order and is sure to create a stir in the fall market. 16 pages of b&w photos, 3 maps. (Sept. 11)
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