|Age of Revolutions: Progress and Backlash from 1600 to the Present
|Violence in Society
|W. W. Norton & Company
|March 26, 2024
About this Book
Populist rage, ideological fracture, economic and technological shocks, war, and an international system studded with catastrophic risk―the early decades of the twenty-first century may be the most revolutionary period in modern history. But it is not the first. Humans have lived, and thrived, through more than one great realignment. What are these revolutions, and how can they help us to understand our fraught world?
In this major work, Fareed Zakaria masterfully investigates the eras and movements that have shaken norms while shaping the modern world. Three such periods hold profound lessons for today. First, in the seventeenth-century Netherlands, a fascinating series of transformations made that tiny land the richest in the world―and created politics as we know it today. Next, the French Revolution, an explosive era that devoured its ideological children and left a bloody legacy that haunts us today. Finally, the mother of all revolutions, the Industrial Revolution, which catapulted Great Britain and the US to global dominance and created the modern world.
Alongside these paradigm-shifting historical events, Zakaria probes four present-day revolutions: globalization, technology, identity, and geopolitics. For all their benefits, the globalization and technology revolutions have produced profound disruptions and pervasive anxiety and our identity. And increasingly, identity is the battlefield on which the twenty-first century’s polarized politics are fought. All this is set against a geopolitical revolution as great as the one that catapulted the United States to world power in the late nineteenth century. Now we are entering a world in which the US is no longer the dominant power. As we find ourselves at the nexus of four seismic revolutions, we can easily imagine a dark future. But Zakaria proves that pessimism is premature. If we act wisely, the liberal international order can be revived and populism relegated to the ash heap of history.
As few public intellectuals can, Zakaria combines intellectual range, deep historical insight, and uncanny prescience to once again reframe and illuminate our turbulent present. His bold, compelling arguments make this book essential reading in our age of revolutions.