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Hailed as a "a dashing account of the romantic movement and bold narrative history at its best"(Michael Ignatieff, The Observer), Holy Madness is a sweeping, graceful portrait of one extraordinary century that changed the face of the world. From the first shots of the American Revolution in 1776 to the last agony of the Paris Commune in 1871, Adam Zamoyski elegantly captures the romantics and revolutionaries who were willing to die for the cause of an idealized nation and who transformed the society of Europe and its colonies.
Holy Madness provides not only a fluid history of the tumultuous years that embraced the American and French revolutions, the Irish Rebellion, the Polish uprisings, the liberation of South America, and the Italian Risorgimento, it also probes the spiritual and emotional forces responsible for the founding events of the modern world. Zamoyski also captures the passionate revolutionary figures Lafayette, Napoleon, Benjamin Franklin, Bolivar, Rousseau, and countless others who were caught up in the fervor of the nationalist crusade. As the cult of the nation rises again around the world, Holy Madness is a magnificent and riveting history that takes on chilling relevance in today's society.
Holy Madness advances a particular argument: that the century of revolutionary upheaval was the direct result of the waning of religion as a universal human-value system. Post-Enlightenment men and women turned to the ecstasies of patriotism and revolution to fill the void left by belief in God, hoping to construct a paradise on Earth rather than wait for one in heaven. According to this thesis, revolution was a new theology: "The theology may have been shaky, but the new religion did have a god. That god was the sovereign nation, whose service was the highest calling, as countless revolutionary catechisms pointed out." It's an ingenious line, worked through thoroughly, although it doesn't explain everything--for instance, why Britain was almost entirely free of revolutionary upset during the same period. But this is thought-provoking and well-made historical writing. --Adam Roberts, Amazon.co.uk
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Book Description: Viking Adult, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. isbn matches hardcover w/ dj. like new Fast service with confirmation, no international or priority orders over 4lbs. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000071499
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