History's Locomotives

Revolutions and the Making of the Modern World

Martin Malia; Edited and with a Foreword by Terence Emmons

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January 22, 2008
384 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
ISBN: 9780300126907
Paper

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This masterful comparative history traces the West’s revolutionary tradition and its culmination in the Communist revolutions of the twentieth century. Unique in breadth and scope, History’s Locomotives offers a new interpretation of the origins and history of socialism as well as the meanings of the Russian Revolution, the rise of the Soviet regime, and the ultimate collapse of the Soviet Union.
History’s Locomotives is the masterwork of an esteemed historian in whom a fine sense of historical particularity never interfered with the ability to see the large picture.

Martin Malia explores religious conflicts in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Europe, the revolutions in England, American, and France, and the twentieth-century Russian explosions into revolution. He concludes that twentieth-century revolutions have deep roots in European history and that revolutionary thought and action underwent a process of radicalization from one great revolution to the next. Malia offers an original view of the phenomenon of revolution and a fascinating assessment of its power as a driving force in history.

The late Martin Malia was respected as one of the great historians of Russia. Terence Emmons is professor of history, emeritus, Stanford University.

"This book is a history of revolutionary change in Europe, a history of how revolutions have been understood by their heirs, and a critical examination of theories of revolution. In all three tasks, Malia succeeds brilliantly."James Sheehan, Stanford University

"A brilliant survey and interpretation of the major revolutions in Western history, this book is a testament to the late Professor Malia's broad learning and his unique ability to identify by comparative analysis the distinctive characteristics of the Russian upheaval that shaped so much of twentieth-century history."—Bernard Bailyn, Harvard University

“[A] magisterial, valedictory work.”—David Gress, Wall Street Journal

"Provides important insights into a brilliant and influential intellectual Cold Warrior's lifelong attempt to understand the nature of Communism and to make sense of the Soviet Union."—Chester Dunning, The Russian Review

"Malia's extraordinary synthesis takes us on a great journey through European history since the fourteenth century, and marks the journey's stages with revolutions. It makes a convincing case for the transforming power of revolutionary action."—Charles Tilly, American Historical Review