The Great Upheaval: America and the Birth of the Modern World, 1788-1800

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9780061363948: The Great Upheaval: America and the Birth of the Modern World, 1788-1800

It is an era that redefined history. As the 1790s began, a fragile America teetered on the brink of oblivion, Russia towered as a vast imperial power, and France plunged into revolution. But in contrast to the way conventional histories tell it, none of these remarkable events occurred in isolation.

Now, for the first time, acclaimed historian Jay Winik masterfully illuminates how their fates combined in one extraordinary moment to change the course of civilization. A sweeping, magisterial drama featuring the richest cast of characters ever to walk upon the world stage, including Washington, Jefferson, Louis XVI, Robespierre, and Catherine the Great, The Great Upheaval is a gripping, epic portrait of this tumultuous decade that will forever transform the way we see America's beginnings and our world

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Fresh and brilliant, this is the book that completely redefines the founding era. As the 1790s began, America was struggling to survive at home and abroad, and the world was gripped by an arc of revolutionary fervor stretching from Philadelphia and Paris to St. Petersburg and Cairo--with fatal results. While a fragile United States teetered on the brink of oblivion, Russia towered as a vast imperial power, the Islamic peoples were gearing for war, and France plunged into monumental revolution. In The Great Upheaval, acclaimed historian Jay Winik masterfully illuminates how their fates combined in one extraordinary moment to change the course of civilization and bequeath us the nation--indeed, the world--we've inherited. Below we see a brief taste of the incredible events and people who shaped this most memorable of decades.

A Timeline of The Great Upheaval

1787 George Washington and the founders gather in Philadelphia to create the Constitution. Meanwhile, Russia's Empress Catherine the Great prepares her bloody assault on the Islamic Ottoman Empire, thus unleashing the first modern holy war between Islam and Christianity.
1789 When the Bastille falls, it is a sound heard around the world: George Washington is sent the key to the fortress, while upon the hearing the news, Russians dance in the streets. King Louis XVI asks, "Is this a revolt?" and is told, "No sire, it's a revolution."
1791-92 Having helped midwife the American rebels to independence, an outraged Catherine seeks to stamp out the French Revolutionary menace. Undaunted, a radicalized France soon declares, "war on the castles, peace on the cottages," triggering a savage world war that lasts 21 years and costs millions of lives.
President George Washington
1793 George Washington receives Revolutionary France's new envoy, Citizen Genet, who audaciously seeks to foment insurrection at America's borders, pitting American against American.

An ocean away, the French king, who had been America's staunchest ally, is beheaded.
1794 The Whiskey Rebellion begins, threatening civil war in America. To Washington's chagrin, as the Terror heats up in France, the Whiskey Rebels in Pennsylvania carry mock guillotines, shoot up likenesses of George Washington, and threaten to march on Philadelphia. Washington frantically assembles a force larger than used at Yorktown.
The excecution of King Louis XVI
1795 Catherine's armies carve up the ancient kingdom of Poland, where the rebellion was led by a hero of the American revolution, Thaddeus Kosiusko, sending a dire signal to the infant American Republic about the perils of military weakness.
1797-98 As Napoleon's armies ominously devour Europe "leaf by leaf," president John Adams fears the young republic will be invaded next. With war fever gripping the country, the administration harshly represses civil liberties.
1800 In the most contested election in U.S. history, military forces are mobilized and the nation again hangs on the precipice of civil war. But unlike in France and Russia, America manages an unprecedented first--a peaceful transfer of power between antagonists, making Thomas Jefferson America's third president.
Empress Catherine the Great

About the Author:

Jay Winik is the author of the New York Times bestseller April 1865. He is a senior scholar of history and public policy at the University of Maryland and a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. He lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

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