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1848: Year of Revolution Paperback – October 19, 2010
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In this account of a turbulent year in which most European thrones were shaken or toppled, Rapport smoothly blends drama of battles on the barricades and perspective on the causes and consequences. As ever in revolution, severe economic distress of workers dovetailed with protest by liberals and radicals to ignite a political explosion, initially in Italy but contagiously in France. Rapport’s telling of the February Revolution in Paris, and of ensuing popular revolts in Prussia, the Hapsburg Empire, and the Italian states, periodically pauses for his keen observations about disagreements within the temporarily triumphant revolutionary camps. After the political revolutions, discord between liberals hoping to establish constitutional order and radicals fomenting social revolution gave conservatives and reactionaries openings to mount counterrevolutions. Such are the political labels of the contending forces, but Rapport’s emphasis on leaders installed in the history books about 1848—including Mazzini, Kossuth, Bismarck, and Marx—reminds readers of the force these key individuals exerted on the course of events. Striking an excellent balance between narrative and explanation, Rapport will engage the history audience. --Gilbert Taylor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A lively, panoramic new history ... a good yarn, with a keen eye for ground-level details."―New York Times
"Absorbing.... Rapport writes with vigor and has a good ear for memorable details.... Anyone wishing a vivid account of a crucial period in European history can spend many hours engrossed in this book." ―
"As a guide to who the revolutionaries were and what they wanted, Rapport is impeccable."―Literary Review (
"Cleverly and sensitively chronicled, this is a pacy, learned history that makes sense of an extraordinary year."―Observer (
"Rapport's vivid tour d'horizon reminds us of the dramatic birth-pangs associated with the arrival of modernity...an absorbing account of a phenomenon that seeded two world wars."―Independent (
"Mike Rapport picks a judicious and vividly presented path through a complex year and skilfully juggles political thought and popular experience."―The Daily Telegraph (
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1. Austria-Franz Joseph takes the throne as rioting breaks out against the government in Vienna. Austria wages a brutal war against the Italian states she governs. The year ends with the forces of conservativism and monarchy in charge. The Austro-Hungarian empire will collapse in World War I.
2. Italy-This country is a patchwork of various duchys and monarchial regimes. Among the most powerful are Piedmont, Tuscany and Lombardy. Efforts by separatist rebels in Sicily are crushed. This is the year in which the heroes of Italian independence began to play a role in Italian and Vatican affairs. Men like Mazzini and Garabaldi enter center stage. The Pope Pius IX is driven from Rome by the French army. Italy is a nation of poor crops and a large illiterate population. Independence will not come until the 1860's when the yoke of Austria is removed Italy's neck.
3. Prussia-A strong militaristic state under Emperor Friedrich Wilhelm this is the most powerful state in the Germanic lands.
Prussia will eventually unite Germany in 1870 and defeat her chief rival France in the Franco-Prussian war. Efforts to unite the various German states are not successful during 1848.
4. France is a nation rife with political turmoil. Louis Napoleon emerges from the fray to be crowned as Napoleon III. France is an economy in shambles with crop failures and peasant unrest.
5. Russia is the most backward and autocratically ruled of the major nations in Europe. Czar Nicholas I clamps down on personal freedoms and censors the press. Dissidents are executed or shipped to Siberia. The peasants are still living in serfdom and will not be freed until 1860.
Dr. Rapport devotes a great deal of attention to the complex political and military chess moves involved in the politics of central European countries such as Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland. This material was new to me and will either interest or bore the American reader.
The period saw the emergence of such luminaries as Karl Marx, Fredrick Engles, Bismarck, Garibalid, Mazzini, Louis Kossuth and Alexander Herzen. These leaders and thinkers are given attention by the author.
While the result of the quest for political and social freedom came a cropper in 1848 the seeds for future revolutionary movements in Europe were solidly planted to emerge in the Communist Revolution of 1917. Ethnic hatreds are also on evident display in these many pages. These racial and ethnic phobias will also emerge into twentieth century conflicts. Racial hatred for the Jews is discussed which is a harbinger of the rise of Fascism and the Nazi party.
Dr. Rapport has done a great job researching a complex topic. However, his writing style reads like a dry as dust textbook. The book would best be utilized in a class on nineteenth century European history.