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The Anatomy of Revolution Revised Edition
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However, there are some flaws in his thesis. As one reader pointed out, Brinton never defines what a "revolution" is - a problem especially given the fact that many do not consider the American Revolution a revolution at all. But beyond this point, there are problems as well. His model does not fit each revolution very well - especially the English Revolution's "Thermidorian Reaction" (which Brinton uses to describe the "calm" after the relative chaos and violence one usually associates with revolution.) His argument on the origins of revolution is similarly does not fit all revolutions well.
However, it is a fascinating read, and Brinton does a remarkable job in briefly and succinctly summarizing each revolution, their causes and the major players and events in them. This, if for no other reason makes it a worthwhile read.
Brinton took the four great revolutions of his time (the Chinese Revolution had not occurred when he originally wrote the book)-the English of the 17th century, the French and American of the 18th century and the Russian of the 20th century and drew some common conclusions from them. Here the American Revolution acted as a kind of control for viewing the others. While no one would deny that each great revolution had its own perculiarities some lessons, so to speak, can be drawn from the various experiences.
Brinton traced the role of ideas, all kinds of ideas, some fanciful some serious that accompanied the dawn of every pre-revolutionary period as those who want to make a revolution or at least change things got a hearing from layers of society that they would not have gotten in more stable times. He also noted that the old regimes had run out of steam both in ideas and personnel, as exemplified by those who ruled at the time of revolutionary upheaval.Read more ›
examining these revolutions are interesting. One of the most valuable ideas of his is that revolutions tend not to occur when things are really horrid, but when they are getting better. This concept proposes a tool for examining socities and predicting the future. This is consistent with the urban riots of the late 1960s with the rights gained by Blacks as opposed to the absence of such riots under Jim Crow. This could be expected using Britton's analytical tool. Another valuable concept is the return of the old order, perhaps in a different form, following the revolution, therefore Stalin follows the Czars and the First Empire after the killing of the king. Britton offers King George and the re-establishment of central authority by the Constitution, court rulings and such as an American comparison. This is really stretching a valuable idea. The British king before the revolution was certainly not a tyrant in North America. In fact the Royal Governor in Virginia was so popular that his statue still stands in front of the Wren building at William and Mary, as it did before the revolution. To compare the power of the Georges in America to that of the Czars is stretching a point. But to compare George Washington, John Adams and John Marshal to Stalin is absurd. Britton's real point is that centralization followed centralization. As Patrick Henry said of the Constittution "I smell a rat." Of course the centralization of power in Washington today is vastly greater than it ever was before 1776. The analytical tools Britton proposes are useful in predicting what will happen in particular situations , but they cannot be applied in the manner of
mathamatical formulars predicting physical, chemical or even biologic events.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great and fast read. If you're a voracious reader, there is no reason you cannot clear this in a day or two. I highly recommend this book.Published 11 days ago by RDW
Great digest, a classic. Came in good condition. I personally think the author jumps around a bit & leaves out quite a bit of facts that would conflict with his conclusions. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Brian B.
42 years ago I was in my second year at Chicago City College where I was introduced to The Anatomy of Revolution in the second half of English History. Read morePublished 23 months ago by William J. Bobzin
This is an amazing book with the kind of research one used to find years ago. Very impressive. It is a tremendous comparison of how 4 different yet related revolutions started and... Read morePublished on June 11, 2013 by Thomas B. Schwartz
I bought this for a class on revolution. It is a great book that explains how revolutions happen and the various stages that they go through from beginning to completion. Read morePublished on May 11, 2013 by DC Mommy