In the new edition of this popular book, Professor Grenville provides a lucid and sympathetic guide to the great political and international changes of the thirty years between 1848 and 1878. For this edition the author has included coverage of the experience of Britain within his discussion of continental Europe.During this period, Europe underwent a rapid succession of political and social changes. The revolutions of 1848 signaled a massive breakdown of social coherence and government, on a scale not witnessed before. The era that followed was one of authoritarian reform from above and the transformation of government, in all but Russia, from autocratic to constitutional rule. The period was dominated by the divisive force of nationalism whilst the map of Europe was redrawn by the unification of Italy and of Germany.The author examines social conflicts in relation to the regions in which they occurred but also considers movements from a European as well as a local perspective.
Yet these events were not merely the outcome of inevitable forces - personal ambitions also played an important role, and Professor Grenville provides readers with fascinating insights into the characters behind the events, including Napoleon III, Cavour, Garibaldi and the master-statesman Bismarck.
J.A.S. Grenville is currently Professor emeritus and a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Research in Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Birmingham. He has previously lectured at Nottingham University, was a Commonwealth and post--doctoral Fellow at Yale, founding Professor of International History at the University of Leeds, 1966 to 1969 and Professor and Head of the modern history department at Birmingham University from 1969--1994. Among his best known publications are Lord Salisbury and Foreign Policy (1964), Politics, Strategy and American Diplomacy, 1873--1917 (with G.B. Young, 1966), The Major International Treaties of the Twentieth Century (with B. Wasserstein, 3rd edition forthcoming) and A History of the World in the Twentieth Century (2nd edition 1998). He has also acted as historian for many documentary films on the twentieth century which have been shown worldwide.