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  • Published: 30 July 2024
  • ISBN: 9780141988313
  • Imprint: Penguin Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 896
  • RRP: $42.99

Revolutionary Spring

Fighting for a New World 1848-1849

An exhilarating reappraisal of one of the most dramatic years in European history

There can be few more exciting or frightening moments in European history than the spring of 1848. As if by magic, in city after city, from Palermo to Paris, huge crowds gathered, sometimes peaceful and sometimes violent, and the political order that had held sway since the defeat of Napoleon simply collapsed.

Christopher Clark's spectacular new book recreates with verve, wit and insight this extraordinary period. Some rulers gave up at once, others fought bitterly, but everywhere new politicians, beliefs and expectations surged forward. The role of women in society, the end of slavery, the right to work, national independence and the emancipation of the Jews all became live issues.

Clark conjures up both this ferment of new ideas and then the increasingly ruthless series of counter-attacks launched by regimes who still turned out to have many cards to play. But even in defeat, exiles spread the ideas of 1848 around the world and - for better and sometimes much worse - a new and very different Europe emerged from the wreckage.

  • Published: 30 July 2024
  • ISBN: 9780141988313
  • Imprint: Penguin Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 896
  • RRP: $42.99

About the author

Christopher Clark

Christopher Clark is a lecturer in Modern European History at St Catharine's College, University of Cambridge. His previous book was a biography of Kaiser Wilhelm II. His latest book is Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947 (Penguin, 2007).

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Praise for Revolutionary Spring

Exhilarating, heroic, horrifying and tragic, the events of the mid-19th century in Europe invite a good retelling ... Christopher Clark's new book is, arguably, the best to date ... deeply researched, rich, engaging and though-provoking. There is now no better place to turn for readers who want to immerse themselves in this period and to reflect on how it resonates today.

Mike Rapport, Literary Review

An engrossing dissection of a revolutionary year in European society.

The Independent

Refreshingly original... it's fascinating, suspenseful, revelatory, alive. Familiar characters are given vibrancy and previously unknown players emerge from the shadows.. Clark's prose is beautiful but also crystal clear

Gerard de Groot, The Times

Magnificent, authoritative and deeply-researched... a supreme work of scholarship.

Simon Heffer, The Telegraph

Full of characters, colour and story, but also makes the arresting case that the revolutions ... changed Europe and the world in ways felt to this day... the history teacher you wished you'd had.

Jonathan Freedland, Daily Mail

Magnificent... does a remarkable job weaving together the myriad strands that make up the narrative, allowing us to see the events in granular detail and with synoptic, Europe-wide vision.

Kenan Malik, Observer

Clark has achieved the impossible: a synoptic history of a subject which defies synopsis... this is history on an epic scale... a masterpiece and one of the best history books you will read this decade.

Jonathan Boff, History Today

Thrills with unexpected energy ... this is narrative history in the grand style ... superb.

Abigail Green, Times Literary Supplement

A marvel of research and analysis. No corner of Europe, from the Ukrainian borderlands to the Greek islands, escapes his gaze.. a titanic monument to historical scholarship.

Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times

Scintillating ... [a] magnificent chronicle of the events leading up to and beyond 1848 ... he tackles the complexity by giving sufficient space to the often thrilling stories of every uprising.


Magnificent ... Sophisticated analysis and beautiful prose ... The author vividly depicts a Europe grasping toward the future.

Michael F. Bishop, Wall Street Journal

Combines over-arching analysis and explanation with a ground-level reporter’s skill at narrating events and capturing character with vividness and compassion … a historian working at the height of his powers.

Michael Ignatieff, CEU Review of Books