Revolutions – peaceful or violent, radical or reactionary – have shaped the political landscape of the world we live in today. But what led revolutionaries to action? What were they fighting against and what were they seeking to achieve? Each revolution is a product of its time, its society, its people – and the outcomes vary dramatically, from liberal reform to brutal dictatorship. Twenty-four leading historians, each writing about their country of origin, consider revolutions from England’s Glorious Revolution of 1688 to the Arab Spring of 2011, reflecting not only on their causes, crises and outcomes, but also their changing, sometimes contested, meanings. Whether as inspiration or warning, their legacies affect virtually every one of us today.
Peter Furtado is the former editor of History Today. His publications include the Sunday Times bestselling Histories of Nations and Great Cities Through Travellers’ Eyes, both published by Thames & Hudson.