Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Lukács

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

New Book: How Revolutionary were the Bourgeois Revolutions?

“I was frankly pole-axed by this magnificent book. Davidson resets the entire debate on the character of revolutions: bourgeois, democratic and socialist. He's sending me, at least, back to the library."
—Mike Davis, author, Planet of Slums
Once of central importance to left historians and activists alike, recently the concept of the “bourgeois revolution” has come in for sustained criticism from both marxists and conservatives. In this comprehensive rejoinder, Neil Davidson seeks to answer the question “how revolutionary were the bourgeois revolutions” by systematically examining the approach taken by a wide range of thinkers to explaining the causes, outcomes, and content of the French, English, Dutch, and other revolutions. Through far reaching research and comprehensive analysis, Davidson demonstrates that what's at stake is far from a stale issue for the history books – understanding these struggles of the past offer far reaching lessons for today's radicals.-----------------------------------


“Neil Davidson wends his way through the jagged terrain of a wide range of Marxist writings and debates to distil their lessons in what is unquestionably the most thorough discussion of the subject to date. If the paradox at the heart of the bourgeois revolutions was that the emergence of the modern bourgeois state had little to do with the agency of the bourgeoisie, then Davidson’s study is by far the most nuanced and illuminating discussion of this complex fact. A brilliant and fascinating book, wide-ranging and lucidly written.”
—Jairus Banaji, author, Theory as History

“[This] is a monumental work. Neil Davidson has given us what is easily the most comprehensive account yet of the ‘life and times’ of the concept of ‘bourgeois revolution’ … This would have been enough. However, Davidson has also provided us with a refined set of theoretical tools for understanding the often complex interactions between political revolutions which overturn state institutions and social revolutions which involve a more thorough-going transformation of social relations.”
—Colin Mooers, author, The Making of Bourgeois Europe
NEIL DAVIDSON teaches at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow where he is the Vice-President of the local University and College Union branch. He is the author of The Origins of Scottish Nationhood (2000), Discovering the Scottish Revolution (2003), for which he was awarded the Deutscher Memorial Prize, and also co-edited Alasdair MacIntyre's Engagement With Marxism (2008) and Neoliberal Scotland (2010). Davidson is on the Editorial Board of International Socialism.
ISBN: 978-1-60846-067-0 / $32 / Paperback / 813 pages

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At 10:40 am, Blogger Dougal said...

I bought Neil's book at Historical Materialism in Sydney at the end of last month and started reading it on the plane ride home - it's a cracker so far, and will send you back to all sorts of books and debates with new ideas. Lots of fun, and lots of useful food for political thought.


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