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How they changed history and what they mean today

Peter Furtado


An essential primer on twenty-four of the most significant revolutions in modern history, narrated by leading historians from around the world

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Revolutions – peaceful or violent, radical or reactionary – have shaped the political landscape of the world we live in today. But what led revolutionaries to action? What were they fighting against and what were they seeking to achieve? Each revolution is a product of its time, its society, its people – and the outcomes vary dramatically, from liberal reform to brutal dictatorship.

This is an essential primer on twenty-four of the most significant revolutions in modern history, from England’s Glorious Revolution of 1688 to the Arab Spring. It is narrated by contributors from around the world, each bringing their unique perspective and reflecting on the changing, sometimes contested, meaning of each revolution in its country of origin and how national identity can be shaped by memories of dissent. Whether as inspiration or warning, the legacies of these revolutions are not only important to those interested in protest, political change and the power of the people, but also impact on virtually every one of us today.

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 23.4 x 15.3 cm

Extent: 368 pp

Illustrations: 24

Publication date: 1 October 2020

ISBN: 9780500022412

Contents List

Introduction: Peter Furtado

The English Revolution 1642–89: Simon Jenkins

The American Revolution 1776–88: Ray Raphael

The French Revolution 1789–99: Sophie Wahnich

The Haitian Revolution 1791–1804: Bayyinah Bello

The Year of Revolutions 1848: Axel Körner

Japan: The Meiji Restoration 1867: Shin Kawashima

The Young Turk Revolution 1908: Mehmed Sükrü Hanioglu

The Mexican Revolution 1910–17: Javier Garciadiego

The Irish Revolution 1913–23: Diarmaid Ferriter

Russia: The Bolshevik Revolution 1917: Dina Khapaeva

The Indian Revolution 1919–47: Mihir Bose

The Vietnamese Revolution 1945: Stein Tønnesson

China’s Communist Revolution 1949–76: Mobo Gao

The Cuban Revolution 1959–2000: Luis Martinez Fernandez

The Student Revolution 1968: Stephen Barnes

Portugal: The Carnation Revolution 1974: Filipe Ribeiro de Meneses

Cambodia: The Khmer Rouge Revolution 1975–79: Sorpong Peou

The Iranian Revolution 1979: Homa Katouzian

Nicaragua: The Sandinista Revolution 1979–1990: Mateo Jarquin

Poland: The Solidarity Revolution 1981–89: Anita Prazmowska

Eastern Europe 1989: Vladimir Tismaneanu and Andres Garcia

South Africa: The End of Apartheid 1990–1994: Thula Simpson

Ukraine: The Orange Revolution 2004: Yaroslav Hrytsak

Egypt: The Arab Spring 2011: Yasser Thabet

About the Author

Peter Furtado is the former editor of History Today. His publications include the Sunday Times bestselling Histories of Nations and Great Cities Through Travellers’ Eyes, both published by Thames & Hudson.