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  • Cited by 4
  • Edited by David Motadel, London School of Economics and Political Science
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
March 2021
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:

Book description

Throughout the modern age, revolutions have spread across state borders, engulfing entire regions, continents, and, at times, the globe. Revolutionary World examines the spread of upheavals during the major revolutionary moments in modern history: the Atlantic Revolutions, Europe's 1848 revolts, the commune movement of the 1870s, the 1905-15 upheavals in Asia, the communist revolutions around 1917, the 'Wilsonian' uprisings of 1919, the 'Third World' revolutions, the global Islamic revolt of 1978-79, the events of 1989, and the rise and fall of the 'Arab Spring'. The chapters explore the nature of these revolutionary waves, tracing the exchange of radical ideas and the movements of revolutionaries around the world. Bringing together a group of distinguished historians, Revolutionary World shows that the major revolutions of the modern age, which have so often been studied as isolated national or imperial events, were almost never contained within state borders and were usually part of broader revolutionary moments.


Winner, 2022 Choice Outstanding Academic Titles


‘Successive waves of revolutions formed the modern world, but world history has strikingly failed to treat those revolutions comprehensively – until now. This rich collection illuminatingly surveys the world of revolutions from the late eighteenth century to the Arab Spring. It should set the global history of revolutions on a new path by raising as many fertile questions as it answers: a major achievement.'

David Armitage - author of Civil Wars: A History in Ideas

‘This is a uniformly valuable set of expert essays and more than the sum of its parts. Motadel and his authors both do justice to the local sources of particular revolutions, and rightly insist on the many connections and convergences between them in terms of timing, formative ideas and personnel.'

Linda Colley - author of The Gun, the Ship, and the Pen

‘A remarkable attempt to globalise the history of revolution. By illuminating international connections, the authors also rescue many movements from the retrospective nationalisation of history.'

Timothy Garton Ash - author of The Magic Lantern

‘The superlative list of contributors will raise readers' expectations and they will not be disappointed: this volume raises new questions about the global interconnections of revolutionary movements and provides surprising answers that could only be offered by those with deep knowledge and a broad comparative vision.'

Lynn Hunt - author of Writing History in the Global Era

'The manifold revolutions since the late 18th century always disdained national and geographical boundaries as they made the modern world. The superbly informative and insightful essays in this volume, which synthesize much contemporary scholarship, are a major step forward to a genuinely global history.'

Pankaj Mishra - author of Age of Anger

‘Motadel’s introduction offers a smooth narrative connecting revolutionary events addressed in the volume in a meaningful and organic way. The references cited in the footnotes are especially helpful for pedagogical purposes. This book is an excellent choice for any upper-level thematic world/global history course on revolution. It can also help junior scholars gain a global perspective on modern revolutionary movements … Highly recommended.’

X. Fan Source: Choice Magazine

‘Motadel's anthology can further ‘contribute to our understanding of territoriality in the history of revolutionary upheavals’ and also show how revolutions spread in waves in different geographical and temporal contexts.’

Frank Jacob Source: Rezensionen

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