Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Published posthumously, Stites's final work is both a career-defining accomplishment and something of a departure. The preeminent European historian broadens his focus from Russia and popular culture to encompass the entire continent and the spread of democracy, revolution, and self-determination. Writing primarily for academics, Stites examines the revolutionary wave of the 1820s and how uprisings for popular, constitutional rule cross-pollinated in Greece, Spain, the Kingdom of Naples, and Russia. Relying largely on primary sources and contemporary accounts, he maps the intellectual ferment of the period and traces how ideas were disseminated across borders and translated into action along the European periphery. The doctrines of both revolutionaries and reactionaries resounded across the Continent; each of the revolutions lured foreign freedom fighters to join the cause-many of whom would go on to influence movements in their homelands-and throughout Stites uncovers fascinating details, as when "travelers and philhellene volunteers from Europe often voiced their disappointment at finding in Greece no one who resembled the heroes chronicled in their schoolbooks." "How Losers Can Win" emerged as one of the decade's enduring lessons, as each of the four campaigns, in failure, inspired future generations of liberals. While much of the text is dry and challenging, Stites's work contains ample rewards for the dedicated reader. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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