The twentieth century was an age of revolutions. As the pace of social and economic change quickened and the savagery of technological warfare destabilized societies, intolerable pressures were created which exploded into violent political movements. These overthrew long-standing regimes and radically reshaped social orders, beginning with the monarchies in China and Russia, the latter transformed into a communist society which sought to export its revolution abroad. The economic collapse of the 1920s in turn bred reactionary revolutions and dictatorships in Europe, while the weakening of European power in the wake of the Second World War sparked new revolutionary movements in the colonies, determined to throw off imperial rule or unseat dictators supported by foreign powers. Towards the century's end, the collapse of the Soviet Union fed new movements, which sought to throw off the choking legacy of earlier revolutions that turned out to have merely replaced one form of oppression with another.
Revolution examines all the key revolutions of the twentieth century, from the 1917 October Revolution, which overthrew the Tsarist regime in Russia, to those which accompanied the collapse of the Soviet Union at the century's end. It encompasses the anti-imperialist revolutions that swept through Latin America, Africa and Asia after the end of the Second World War and the democratic revolutions that overthrew a string of dictatorships from the 1980s onwards.
Following the narrative thread through 30 key uprisings and revolutionary movements and illustrated with contemporary photographs and documents, this is an indispensable guide to a phenomenon that shaped and overshadowed much of the twentieth century.