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1848: Year of Revolution

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  248 ratings  ·  45 reviews
In 1848, a violent storm of revolutions ripped through Europe. The torrent all but swept away the conservative order that had kept peace on the continent since Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo in 1815—but which in many countries had also suppressed dreams of national freedom. Political events so dramatic had not been seen in Europe since the French Revolution, and they would ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published October 19th 2010 by Basic Books (first published February 1st 2009)
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This is a really fantastic overview of the Revolutions of 1848. Providing background on not just the relevant political history but also biographies of the major individuals, Rapport places the events solidly in context.

What I liked about this book was that it explains the interplay between nationalism, the movement for democracy, republicanism (meaning elections but with restricted electorate), and "social" issues, meaning workplace/wage issues, hunger (in a time of extended economic downturn),
Julian Haigh
Broad history of the momentous European revolutions of 1848. It was the year of the overthrow of French King Louis-Philippe, abolishment of serfdom in Austria and Hungary, and the establishment of the Frankfurt Assembly meeting to determine the unification of Germany.

It is the year Metternich runs from Vienna while Bismarck begins to gain favour in Prussia; the bombardment and great seige of Venice; rise and fall of Kossuth's liberal Hungary, and the heroic return to Italy of the 'red-shirted'
John David
This is what you might call a “general interest” history of the events that occurred in Europe in 1848. What started in Sicily quickly spread all over Europe: to France, Germany, Austria, the Italian states, Demark, Wallachia, Poland, and several other places. While almost no structural or political change actually took place as a result of these revolutions and therefore they are usually considered somewhat of a failure, it is often thought to be the historical location of the birth pangs of se ...more
I struggled with this book. As an avid reader of Victorian-era history, I expected to love it, but Rapport doesn't give us enough of a story line to hang his facts on. And he provides a never-ending flow of facts, details, and trivia. Partly the problem is the subject -- he's trying to cover Germany, with all its little states, Italy, with ditto, Austria, France, Hungary, the UK, the Baltic states -- and on and on. Each one of these countries suffered some sort of cataclysm during the 1848-49 pe ...more
Jul 11, 2014 Jacob marked it as to-finish-later  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Back in 2007 I read Freedom & Necessity by Steven Brust and Emma Bull; although I highly enjoyed it (really, it's a great book--China Miéville even says so!), I missed out on the historical context: "It is 1849. Across Europe, the high tide of revolution has crested..." Revolution? Europe? Chartists? My knowledge of European history was (and still is) extremely poor, but I shrugged and kept reading. Four years later, with F&N on my to-reread shelf, I'm reminded again of my ignorance--but ...more
The book “1848 Year of Revolution” has depicted series of revolutions happened in Europe especially in 1848. Following after the sparkle in Sicily first, nearly the whole Europe besides the United Kingdom, Russia and Netherland was affected by the wave of revolution. The most successful one might be the fall of July Monarchy and the establishment of the Second French Republic. Although the revolutions were brutally oppressed by kingdoms led by Habsburg, many people have first touched and experie ...more
1848 was a reasonably compact telling of the revolutions that began around that year and their results. Every kingdom (there were few nations yet) in Europe, even Russia and Britain was touched to some extent. The author did not talk about where the ideas that stirred up the trouble came from but they included desire for nationhood, broader suffrage, freedom for serfs/peasants, the right to own property, universal education, and freedom of the press, speech, and association. There were popular d ...more
Interesting period of time which I, admittedly knew nothing about. However, this book is very dense. I'd recommend it only to people with prior knowledge of the events and want to learn more about it or huge history buffs.
If you are interested in 19th Century European History this book is a must read. It is very well written and is well balanced and engrossing. I wish I'd had Mr. Rapport as a professor in college!
This book is a meeting between an author with too much detail on his mind and a period with too much going on to fit into a single volume (though it's been done before). The problem too is that Rapport is not a story teller, which a historian has to be when he is writing for history lovers, not historians. In sum, I agree with several other readers that this book is for those who know the events and persons of 1848 very well. Unfortunately, though I had read other books on the 19th century, and ...more
This book focuses on the political aspects of the tumultuous year of revolutions, 1848. If you are looking for anything on the various battles of that year, look elsewhere; the pivotal fights are all disposed of in a paragraph of less.

While an interesting read, it is by no means a page-turner. Partly, the history is a flood of personas who appear for a page and then disappear, never to be seen again. Mainly, it is the structure of the book, though. It is subdivided into the various phases of the
Ryan Burns
This thing reads like a Middle Eastern newspaper.
Jim Pfluecke
This is a really fantastic overview of the Revolutions of 1848. Providing background on not just the relevant political history but also biographies of the major individuals, Rapport places the events solidly in context.

What I liked about this book was that it explains the interplay between nationalism, the movement for democracy, republicanism (meaning elections but with restricted electorate), and "social" issues, meaning workplace/wage issues, hunger (in a time of extended economic downturn),
This book covers a set of uprisings in the year of the title spread widely over Europe - ranging from France to Romania. Many characters appear in more than one revolution and the interaction between the leading characters is well narrated giving a good sense of the intents and personalities taking part.

The first half of the book introduces the uprisings and the parties involved while the second half details the build-up of the reactionary forces and the often tragic fractures between the variou
1848 truly was the year of revolution; so many events that Mike Rapport spends 400 pages and gives us a panoramic glimpse. Rapport lectures in history at the University of Stirling in Scotland and emphasizes the stick-to-the-facts chronology. It’s refreshing not to be plagued by “it seems that” and “one must imagine.” The book is well-supported by research.

I, however, longed for the approach of the superb Lords of Finance. The context of the times was easier to understand because of the tighter
Dan Murphy

Three Favorite Passages:

1. "Most patriots of 1848, in claiming national rights and freedoms for their own people, were in the process willing to trample on the liberties of others. All too soon the hard iron of national self-interest invariably won out over the more fragrant universal principles of 1848. Consequently, in many places where the 'national question' arose, Europeans would experience the brutalities of ethnic conflict, setting the revolutionaries against each other and providing the
Not an easy read due to the way it's organized, and the scope of the topic. The narrative covers the wave of revolution, and counter-revolution, that swept through Europe in 1848-9. It jumps from France, to the Hapsburg Empire, to the German Confederation, to Italy, and then cycles back around repeatedly. So many different people are introduced that it's very difficult to keep clear on who's who, and at each geographical jump one has to strain to recall what was going on in that location when la ...more
Tanya Faberson
This was an excellent history of the revolutions in Europe in 1848 and their aftermath. I found it especially interesting with regard to my historical archaeological research in 19th c American urban settings (such as German neighborhoods that developed from tides of immigrants streaming in during or after the political and social upheavals of 1848) as well as American politics before the Civil War (such as the development of nativist parties, like the Know-Nothings).
Aug 02, 2013 Kaleb added it
Informative narrative for the reader with little knowledge of the 1848 revolutions. In the last chapter and a half, the chronology seems to bounce around as Rapport jumps between nations, retelling the stories from that new perspective.
In the conclusion, Rapport finally gets to a lot of the "so what," the implications of this story he's been telling, and the historical significance of the revolutions and their aftermath. This is where he also addresses much of the historiographical debates and w
Bruce MacBain
I've read several news commentators lately who point out the similarity of the current wave of revolutions sweeping the Middle East to the revolutions that swept Europe in 1848, overthrowing (though only temporarily) the repressive regimes in France,Germany, Austria, and Italy. So I thought I ought to learn more about that. (I had only the vaguest memory of this period from my college history survey of many years ago.) I chose Rapport' book and found it a very satisfying read. Detailed but never ...more
Paul Skinner
Too detailed, and too many different places covered. Had to keep going back over it to get the story.
I bought this book to learn about conditions in Europe that led some of our ancestors to head to America. It provides abundant detail on Austria-Hungary, the German states, and Italy among others. Although the book was only marginally helpful for my family history needs, it gave a fascinating picture of the growth of liberal political movements, professional revolutionaries, and national sentiment in the 19th century and the impact of the failure of the revolutions of 1848 on the shape of modern ...more
Terry Earley
Quoted in "Power Inc" by David Rothkopf p 139

I have not doubt that David Rothkopf loved this book. The overall idea was fascinating to me, particularly how many of the events were related. Rapport helps us better understand modern Europe by seeing these important events in context.

Much of it was a slog, pawing through details interesting mainly to historians. It is a wonderful historical reference, with very specific insights into events. If you love history, particularly western history, you ne
I had to give up on this about 100 pages or so from the end. Part of it is that I am still somewhat unfamiliar with the time period, and another part of it is that while I have tried to read about this time period, I always have trouble focusing. I think had it focused on just one area - Austria, Germany, Italy, France - it would have been easier to get a handle on, but since it focuses on all (admitedly intertwined) of these nations, it was just too much - like trying to see everything in the L ...more
I got the author's key main points, i.e., the revolutions of 1848 failed because of ethnic conflicts and because of disagreements between the liberals and democrats on the role of the state in dealing with social issues, like poverty and unequal distribution of wealth.

However, I found parts of it confusing in terms of organization. I will admit in part this judgment results from me knowing too little of Central European history of the 19th Century. A little more background would have helped set
Ray Barry
Very good book. Mike Rapport really digs deep. He leaves no stone unturned. Italian politics it would seem has not changed all that much in 165 years. Fractured and loud. Nor has German politics. They still strive for complete unity. The author travels all across Europe. From Ireland to Russia and EVERYWHERE in between. A real delight to read. In no way did Mr.Rapport dumb down his writing. It would seem he writes for those with at the very least a basic understanding of history already.
Eeesh. I'm getting better at reading history, but this is the sort of book that defeats me. When you have the lethal level of names/dates/places detail that this book has, I need some anchors -- usually either a previous familiarity with the era, or some serious cultural background. This had neither -- it basically ignores what was going on in the US and Britain at the time, which makes perfect sense thematically and leaves me a little adrift. So, Europe. There were a lot of revolutions.
The first 1/3 of this book would warm the cockles of any anarcho-syndicalist's heart: the rising of a populist movement to overthrow an un-representative government, and its victorious sweep across a continent of discontent. It is the last few hundred pages that delve into the resulting tumult, discord and power grabs that a government teetering between transformation and chaos engender. Reading this during the growing democratic protests in the Middle East was surreal.
Really Interesting linking the events of this book to the modern world.
Douglas Haines
My late sister in law shared with me her commitment to finish any book she started. This one tested my commitment through the middle parts, but the commitment paid off handsomely as the wide sweep of this revolutionary time in Europe laid the foundation for further appreciating both 19th century European and current world events such as the dissension in Ukraine.
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