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Download The European Revolutions, 1848-1851 (New Approaches to European History) epub

by Jonathan Sperber

Jonathan Sperber has updated and expanded his study of the European Revolutions between 1848-1851 in this second edition. Emphasizing the socioeconomic background to the revolutions, and the diversity of political opinions and experiences of participants, Sperber offers an inclusive narrative of the revolutionary events and a structural analysis of the reasons for the revolutions' ultimate failure. A wide-reaching conclusion and a detailed bibliography make his book ideal for classroom use and the general reader wishing a better knowledge of a major historical event.
Download The European Revolutions, 1848-1851 (New Approaches to European History) epub
ISBN: 0521839076
ISBN13: 978-0521839075
Category: Other
Subcategory: Humanities
Author: Jonathan Sperber
Language: English
Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (July 25, 2005)
Pages: 336 pages
ePUB size: 1373 kb
FB2 size: 1129 kb
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 637
Other Formats: docx lrf azw doc

I'll admit that I'm somewhat of a historical vagabond. I have a few areas of special interest, but I also like to fill myself in on subjects that I am just curious about but in which I have no particular expertise. The European revolutions of 1848 were one of those areas. What I was looking for was a comprehensive overview which also made an effort to connect most of the major dots, and I found this text to fill the bill almost perfectly. (And many thanks to the previous reviewers for helping me to decide that this was probably the best text to fill those needs). I don't have much to add to what the other reviewers have already pointed out, except to note one thing: The author in trying to make this book relevant to the present, made a comparison to the overthrow of the Communist regimes in the early '90s, and for the most part determined (correctly, it seems to me) that there really wasn't much to compare. I only wish he had written this book a few years later, because I can see some obvious points of comparison with the "Arab Spring" of a few years back and the consequent uprisings in Libya and Syria. The most striking being how the Arab Spring also would ultimately fail in its goals, in large part due to a destructive political factionalism that sprang up shortly after the initial gains were attained. I guess the point I am trying to make is that for the most part, the goals of the European revolutions were ultimately obtained, but not until almost seventy years later, (after World War One). Hopefully it will not take that long for the Arab world, but it's nice to think that in the long run (perhaps very long) things will eventually work out there as well. And that all is not necessarily lost. Sorry for straying so far from the subject, but these were the thoughts that kept hitting me again and again as I read through this book. It would be a nice theme for somebody to pick up and run with, but unfortunately probably the only people who will ever even look at this title are historical specialists or the few vagabonds like me.
Full of pertinent information, this book helped me receive an A on a research paper.
I think this is a very good book for someone who wants to know more about a period that gets almost no attention in the US.
An excellent overview and analysis of the great European Revolutions of 1848-1851. This concise and well written book provides the basic narrative, a great deal of analysis, including comparison with other revolutions, particularly the French Revolution, and some historiography. Sperber opens by describing the considerable social and political tensions in Europe during the 1840s, emphasing the considerable diversity of European society from relatively developed and politically advanced France to the highly traditional rural societies of Eastern Europe. In contrast to the usual emphasis on urban populations, he particularly highlights rural unrest, discussing both the strains induced by persisting seigneurialism in some parts of Europe and increasing capitalist agriculture in other parts of Europe. Increasing populations, declining wages and living standards, the economic strains of nascent industrialization, and the the exclusion from political participation of the great majority of the public were the backdrop of the Revolutions. A series of poor harvests in the 1840s and economic problems incited public unrest and pushed many European states past their breaking point.

Sperber also has a fine and unanachronistic analysis of political currents before and during the Revolutions. Included are excellent descriptions of liberalism, radicalism, conservatism, nationalism, and incipient socialism. The complicated relationship between the different political strains, social status, confessional differences, and nationalism is explored particularly well. The differences between the different political and national tendencies became particularly important after initial successes of the Revolutions and were major contributors to the faltering of the Revolutionary movements and the later successes of conservative reaction. The descriptions and analyses of different events in different parts of Europe is excellent and includes regions often neglected such as southern Italy and what we now call Romania. There is specific and useful criticism of Marxist and nationalist historiographic traditions.

The 1848 Revolutions are commonly regarded as failures, because of the success of reaction in most European states. To a considerable extent, this resulted from fission of revolutionary movements with liberal partisans joining conservatives against radicals. The key role of military support of reaction is emphasized. Sperber has a thoughtful perspective on the outcome of the Revolutions. He suggests that a desire to avoid the radicalism of Jacobin period of the French Revolution on both the right and the left played a role in preventing revolutionary success. In some smaller states, there were expansions of constitutionalism and rights. The experience of the Revolutions, despite the considerable repression of the 1850s, did result in expansions of political life in some important respects. He suggests also that the experience of the Revolutions purged the European Left of the Jacobin emphasis on civic virtue.