REVOLUTIONS AND REVOLUTIONARIES by A. J. P. Taylor

REVOLUTIONS AND REVOLUTIONARIES

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Prolific historian Taylor has written some very good books -- Bismarck, English History, 1914-1945, among others--but now he seems to have stopped trying. Another result of a BBC program--like How Wars Begin--this ""treatment"" of the modern European revolutionary movement (as Taylor grandiosely puts it) contains brief chapters on the French Revolution, the English Chartists, the various revolutions of 1848, the relatively fallow years between 1848 and 1917, and the Russian Revolution. The inclusion of the Chartists--about whom little is generally said in this country--raises the issue of Taylor's ""European"" framework; if the Chartists, why not the English Revolution or the American Revolution, both of which, on the basis of much current scholarship, can be termed important modern revolutions? But even if Taylor had made a serious effort at comprehensiveness, the result would only have been more of what is here; namely, trivia. Shying away from either serious explanation or complicated sentences, Taylor's text is full of inanities like this: ""Engels was a jolly fellow who liked taking a party of revolutionaries into the country for the day and drinking lots of German wine. . . Despite the fact that no new revolutions occured, the revolutionaries often had fun."" Of the leaders of the French Revolution, Taylor notes that they ""all believed in enlightenment. All quoted from the works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau."" Even on television, this won't be much of a show.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1980
Publisher: Atheneum