Revolutions & Rebellions Books

  • ACKR
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    Peter Ackroyd presents the latest instalment in his History of England with Revolution, a book covering the years between 1688 and 1815.

    From William of Orange's accession following the Revolution to the Regency when England once again found itself at war with France (a war that ended with the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo), this looks at life during the late Stuart and Georgian eras.

    During this time, the Bank of England and stock exchange were founded and the Church of England was fully established as the guardian of the spiritual life of the nation. Newspapers also first flourished during this era and the English novel was born. It was also a time when coffee houses, playhouses and shops began to pop up in towns and villages all across the nation.

    The industrial revolution also occurred in this period and this was a time when England transformed from a country of blue skies and farmland to one of soot and steel and coal.
  • Black and British: A Forgotten History - Hardback - 9781447299738 - David Olusoga
    BHOB
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    Inspired by a landmark BBC Two programme, David Olusoga's Black and British: An Untold Story is a vital re-examination of the extraordinarily long relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa.

    Drawing on new genetic and genealogical research, original records, expert testimony and contemporary interviews, this book provides an unflinching history of black and white Britons and how they have been intimately entwined for centuries.

    From Roman Britain to Shakespeare's Othello and how black people were regarded during the medieval times, this book confronts taboos and reveals some previously unknown scandals.
  • The Century Girls - Hardback - 9781471161322 - Tessa Dunlop
    CNTY
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    Six women who have lived the last hundred years of British history reveal how their lives have changed since the suffragettes won the right for women (over 30 and who met certain property qualifications) to vote in 1918.

    Hailing from locations spread across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Helena, Olive, Edna, Joyce, Ann and Phyllis - The Century Girls - explain what they saw, how they were treated, who they loved, what they did and where they are now. They look back at times as housewives and working and describe the surroundings they grew up in.

    This is a personal account of how women gradually began to build independent lives for themselves in post-Great War Britain and what their day-to-day lives were like and how they changed throughout the following decades.
  • SPIG
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    BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera reveals the story of MI14 and the Secret Pigeon Service during the Second World War for the first time in this compelling read.

    Using extensive original research and declassified documents, he reveals the inner workings of 'Columba' - an operation that saw 16,000 plucky homing pigeons dropped in an arc from Bourdeaux to Copenhagen in an effort to bring back intelligence from those living under Nazi occupation.

    The messages came flooding back from France, the Netherlands and Belgium - all written on tiny pieces of rice paper that has been tucked into canisters and tied to the legs of the birds - and these authentic missives ranged from the comic to the tragic and occasionally invaluable, giving the British Intelligence advance notice of German troop movements, weapons and more.

    Corera also looks at the people behind this mission, not many of whom were trained agents or experienced in spying. He focuses in particular on the Leopold Vindictive network, a small group of Belgian villagers - led by priest Joseph Raskin - who were always prepared to risk everything. This is a powerful and tragic tale of wartime espionage that looks at a quirky and quarrelsome band of spy masters and their unique operations.
  • AYRHY
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    One hundred years ago events in Russia took the world by storm. In February 1917, in the middle of World War I and following months of protest and political unrest, Tsar Nicholas II abdicated. Later that year a new political force, the socialist Bolshevik Party, seized power under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin. A bloody civil war and period of extraordinary hardship for Russians finally led to the establishment of the Soviet Union. This book accompanies a major exhibition that re-examines the Russian Revolution in light of recent research, focusing on the experiences of ordinary Russians living through extraordinary times. The Revolution was not a single event but a complex process of dramatic change. The story of the Revolution is told here through posters, maps, postcards, letters, newspapers and literature, photographs and personal accounts. Leading experts on Russian history reveal the Revolution as a utopian project that had traumatic consequences for people across Russia and beyond.
  • BRKYG
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    The end of the Second World War may have heralded peace in Europe but conflicts in Southern Africa were about to begin. The imperial powers were weakened by the cost of war and a string of wars challenged colonial rule in countries such as Namibia, Angola and Rhodesia. Once independence was achieved, civil wars between rival factions unfamiliar with democratic principles resulted. Liberation movements such as those in South Africa demanded self-rule and end to Apartheid. Tribal feuds, corruption and the ambitions of dictators led to more conflicts such as the protracted fighting in the Congo. These were wars that ran on until both sides were exhausted often only to be re-kindled after short periods of uneasy peace. The cost in human and material terms has been devastating and in too many cases remain so. Economic development has been frustrated and the result is often poverty, abuse and genocide. The Author who knows Southern Africa as a native is superbly equipped to tell this fascinating if tragic record.
  • BIAKJ
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    At the beginning of 1917, the three empires fighting on the Eastern Front were reaching their breaking points, but none was closer than Russia. After the February Revolution, Russia's ability to wage war faltered and her last desperate gamble, the Kerensky Offensive, saw the final collapse of her army. This helped trigger the Bolshevik Revolution and a crippling peace, but the Central Powers had no opportunity to exploit their gains and, a year later, both the German and Austro-Hungarian empires surrendered and disintegrated. Concluding his acclaimed series on the Eastern Front in World War I, Prit Buttar comprehensively details not only these climactic events, but also the 'successor wars' that raged long after the armistice of 1918. New states rose from the ashes of empire and war raged as German forces sought to keep them under the aegis of the Fatherland. These unresolved tensions between the former Great Powers and the new states would ultimately lead to the rise of Hitler and a new, terrible world war only two decades later.
  • BMMJH
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    Political risk analyst Sam Wilkin was taken aback when he noticed that key indicators of trouble had started showing up in his own back yard. Could it really be true that Peru, the Philippines and Thailand were less risky than places like France? Bear in mind, Thailand's last military coup was about three years ago... Reader: it was true. Now that political instability has come home, it's a good moment to ask: what causes it? How can you tell when your country is headed for turbulence? And what does the best social science say we can do about it? A colourful romp through the history of recent revolutionary moments becomes a profound enquiry into the machinery of social unrest. Why are farming nations so unstable? Is there really a "resource curse" on mineral-rich nations? Do tall rulers last longer? Just how good was the Czar's wine cellar? Wilkin answers all these questions and more in pursuit of the holy grail of political science: how to make things better without first making them much, much worse.
  • AUKYW
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    Pathan Rising tells the story of the large-scale tribal unrest that erupted along the North West Frontier of India in the late 1890s; a short but sharp period of violence that was initiated by the Pathan tribesmen against the British. Although the exact causes of the unrest remain unclear, it was likely the result of tribal resentment towards the establishment of the Durand Line and British 'forward policy', during the last echoes of the 'Great Game', that led the proud tribesmen to take up arms on an unprecedented scale. This resentment was brought to boiling point by a number of fanatical religious leaders, such as the Mad Fakir and the Hadda Mullah, who visited the various Pathan tribes calling for jihad. By the time the risings ended, eleven Victoria Crosses would be awarded to British troops, which hints at the ferocity and level of bitterness of the fighting. Indeed, although not eligible for the VC in 1897, many Indian soldiers would also receive high-level decorations in recognition of their bravery. It would be one of the greatest challenges to British authority in Asia during the Victorian era.
  • AURGH
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    The fall of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 has become the commemorative symbol of the French Revolution. But this violent and random act was unrepresentative of the real work of the early revolution, which was taking place ten miles west of Paris, in Versailles. There, the nobles, clergy and commoners of France had just declared themselves a republic, toppling a rotten system of aristocratic privilege and altering the course of history forever. The Revolution was led not by angry mobs, but by the best and brightest of France's growing bourgeoisie: young, educated, ambitious. Their aim was not to destroy, but to build a better state. In just three months they drew up a Declaration of the Rights of Man, which was to become the archetype of all subsequent Declarations worldwide, and they instituted a system of locally elected administration for France which still survives today. They were determined to create an entirely new system of government, based on rights, equality and the rule of law. In the first three years of the Revolution they went a long way toward doing so. Then came Robespierre, the Terror and unspeakable acts of barbarism. In a clear, dispassionate and fast-moving narrative, Ian Davidson shows how and why the Revolutionaries, in just five years, spiralled from the best of the Enlightenment to tyranny and the Terror. The book reminds us that the Revolution was both an inspiration of the finest principles of a new democracy and an awful warning of what can happen when idealism goes wrong.
  • AUGFH
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    Marx held that the progression of society from capitalism to communism was 'historically inevitable'. In Russia in 1917, it seemed that Marx's theory was being born out in reality. But was the Russian Revolution really inevitable? This collection of fourteen contributions from the world's leading Russian scholars attempts to answer the question by looking back at the key turning points of the revolution. From the Russo-Japanese conflict of 1904-5 through to the appropriation of church property in 1922, and focusing especially on the incredible chain of events in 1917 leading to the October Revolution itself, Historically Inevitable? is a forensic account of Russia's road to revolution. Each contribution gives not only a fast-paced, incisive narrative account of an individual aspect of Revolution but also, for the first time, an intriguing counter-factual analysis of what might have gone differently. Featuring Richard Pipes on the Kornilov affair, Orlando Figes on the October Revolution, Dominic Lieven on foreign intervention and Martin Sixsmith on the attempted assassination of Lenin in 1918, Historically Inevitable? explains how each of these moments, more through blind luck than any historical inevitability, led to the creation of the world's first communist state. Tony Brenton's afterword to the volume draws parallels between the Revolution and the ultimate collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and places the events of 1917 in the context of more recent events in Russia and the Crimea. Featuring contributions from: Donald Crawford - Sean McMeekin - Dominic Lieven - Orlando Figes - Richard Sakwa - Douglas Smith - Martin Sixsmith - Simon Dixon - Boris Kolonitsky - Richard Pipes - Edvard Radzinsky - Catriona Kelly - Erik Landis - Evan Mawdsley
  • AWRBU
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    The Russian Revolution of 1917 transformed the face of the Russian empire, politically, economically, socially, and culturally, and also profoundly affected the course of world history for the rest of the twentieth century. Now, to mark the centenary of this epochal event, historian Steve Smith presents a panoramic account of the history of the Russian empire, from the last years of the nineteenth century, through the First World War and the revolutions of 1917 and the establishment of the Bolshevik regime, to the end of the 1920s, when Stalin simultaneously unleashed violent collectivization of agriculture and crash industrialization upon Russian society. Drawing on recent archivally-based scholarship, Russia in Revolution pays particular attention to the varying impact of the Revolution on the various groups that made up society: peasants, workers, non-Russian nationalities, the army, women and the family, young people, and the Church. In doing so, it provides a fresh way into the big, perennial questions about the Revolution and its consequences: why did the attempt by the tsarist government to implement political reform after the 1905 Revolution fail; why did the First World War bring about the collapse of the tsarist system; why did the attempt to create a democratic system after the February Revolution of 1917 not get off the ground; why did the Bolsheviks succeed in seizing and holding on to power; why did they come out victorious from a punishing civil war; why did the New Economic Policy they introduced in 1921 fail; and why did Stalin come out on top in the power struggle inside the Bolshevik party after Lenin's death in 1924. A final chapter then reflects on the larger significance of 1917 for the history of the twentieth century - and, for all its terrible flaws, what the promise of the Revolution might mean for us today.
  • BPNVY
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    Legend has it that, in a few busy weeks in July 1789, a despotic king, his freeloading wife, and a horde of over-privileged aristocrats, were displaced and then humanely dispatched. In the ensuing years, we are told, France was heroically transformed into an idyll of Liberte, Egalite and Fraternite. In fact, as Stephen Clarke argues in his informative and eye-opening account of the French Revolution, almost all of this is completely untrue. In 1789 almost no one wanted to oust King Louis XVI, let alone guillotine him. While the Bastille was being stormed by out-of-control Parisians, the true democrats were at work in Versailles creating a British-style constitutional monarchy. The founding of the Republic in 1792 unleashed a reign of terror that caused about 300,000 violent deaths. And people hailed today as revolutionary heroes were dangerous opportunists, whose espousal of Liberte, Egalite and Fraternite did not stop them massacring political opponents and guillotining women for demanding equal rights. Going back to original French sources, Stephen Clarke has uncovered the little-known and rarely told story of what was really happening in revolutionary France, as well as what went so tragically and bloodily wrong.
  • BJMHZ
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    October 1917, heralded as the culmination of the Russian Revolution, remains a defining moment in world history. Even a hundred years after the events that led to the emergence of the world's first self-proclaimed socialist state, debate continues over whether, as historian E. H. Carr put it decades ago, these earth-shaking days were a "landmark in the emancipation of mankind from past oppression" or "a crime and a disaster." Some things are clear. After the implosion of the three-hundred-year-old Romanov dynasty as a result of the First World War, Russia was in crisis -one interim government replaced another in the vacuum left by imperial collapse. In this monumental and sweeping new account, Laura Engelstein delves into the seven years of chaos surrounding 1917 -the war, the revolutionary upheaval, and the civil strife it provoked. These were years of breakdown and brutal violence on all sides, punctuated by the decisive turning points of February and October. As Engelstein proves definitively, the struggle for power engaged not only civil society and party leaders, but the broad masses of the population and every corner of the far-reaching empire, well beyond Moscow and Petrograd. Yet in addition to the bloodshed they unleashed, the revolution and civil war revealed democratic yearnings, even if ideas of what constituted "democracy" differed dramatically. Into that vacuum left by the Romanov collapse rushed long-suppressed hopes and dreams about social justice and equality. But any possible experiment in self-rule was cut short by the October Revolution. Under the banner of true democracy, and against all odds, the Bolshevik triumph resulted in the ruthless repression of all opposition. The Bolsheviks managed to harness the social breakdown caused by the war and institutionalize violence as a method of state-building, creating a new society and a new form of power. Russia in Flames offers a compelling narrative of heroic effort and brutal disappointment, revealing that what happened during these seven years was both a landmark in the emancipation of Russia from past oppression and a world-shattering disaster. As regimes fall and rise, as civil wars erupt, as state violence targets civilian populations, it is a story that remains profoundly and enduringly relevant.
  • BRJJO
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    The Syrian state is less than 100 years old, born from the wreckage of World War I. Today it stands in ruins, shattered by brutal civil war. How did this happen? How did the lands that are today Syria survive incorporation with the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth century and the trials and vicissitudes of the Sultan's rule for four centuries, only to collapse into civil war in recent years?Arguably it was the Ottoman period that laid the fragile foundations of a state that had to endure a turbulent twentieth century under French rule, tentative independence, a brutal and corrupt dictatorship and eventual disintegration in the twenty-first. Across a diverse cast of individuals, rich and poor, James Reilly explores these fractious and formative periods of Ottoman, Egyptian and French rule, and the ways that these contributed to the contradictions and failings of the rule of the Assad family; and to a civil war which produced the so-called Islamic State. In charting Syria's history over the last five centuries in their entirety for the first time, Reilly demonstrates the myriad historical, cultural, social, economic and political factors that bind Syrians together, as well as those that have torn them apart. Based on primary sources, recent historiography in English, French and Arabic and more than 30 years' experience living and working in the region, this is the essential book for understanding modern Syria and the Middle East.
  • BTWUX
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    The French Revolutionary Wars of 1793-1801 are less well known than the Napoleonic Wars that followed, but they represent a critical stage in the political and diplomatic history of Europe, and Sir Ralph Abercromby played a leading role in the British military campaigns that were part of them. Carole Divall in this absorbing and perceptive study throws new light onto Britain's position during the late eighteenth century, focusing on its military affairs and the expeditionary forces led by Abercromby during the conflict. As tension between Britain and France grew after the convulsions of the French revolution, the British decided to wage an economic war by attacking French colonial possessions, and money and men were sent to campaign on the continent. Abercromby was the most notable British general to exercise command of these expeditions, and his actions and experiences are central to the narrative. He led British forces during the disastrous campaign in Flanders, achieved some success in St Lucia and Trinidad, failed at Den Helder and finally triumphed in Egypt where he lost his life in 1801.
  • AWQHD
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    Unrivalled in scope and brimming with human drama, A People's Tragedy is the most vivid, moving and comprehensive history of the Russian Revolution available today. "A modern masterpiece". (Andrew Marr). "The most moving account of the Russian Revolution since Doctor Zhivago". (Independent). Opening with a panorama of Russian society, from the cloistered world of the Tsar to the brutal life of the peasants, A People's Tragedy follows workers, soldiers, intellectuals and villagers as their world is consumed by revolution and then degenerates into violence and dictatorship. Drawing on vast original research, Figes conveys above all the shocking experience of the revolution for those who lived it, while providing the clearest and most cogent account of how and why it unfolded. Illustrated with over 100 photographs and now including a new introduction that reflects on the revolution's centennial legacy, A People's Tragedy is a masterful and definitive record of one of the most important events in modern history.
  • BGDEG
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    The October Revolution happened in November 1917. Later Soviet propaganda pretended for several decades that it was `the will of the people', but in reality the brutal rebellion, which killed millions and raised the numerically tiny Bolshevik Party to power, was made possible by massive injections of German money laundered through a Swedish bank. The so-called `workers' and peasants' revolution' had a cast of millions, of which the three stars were neither workers nor peasants. Nor were they Russian. Josef V. Djugashvili - Stalin - was a Georgian who never did speak perfect Russian; Leiba Bronstein - Trotsky - was a Jewish Ukrainian; Vladimir I. Ulyanov - Lenin - was a mixture of Tatar and other Asiatic bloodlines. Karl Marx had thought that the Communist revolution would happen in an industrialised country like Germany. Instead, German cash enabled Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and Co. to destroy ineffective tsarist rule and declare war on the whole world. This is how they did it, told largely in the words of people who were there.
  • AZGUE
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    Having grown up in an Irish country house built in 1847, historian Turtle Bunbury has long harboured a fascination with that epic year, pitched at the frenetic centre of a momentous century. Here he has assembled 36 stories from around the world that capture the spirit of the age. Bursting with all manner of human life and endeavour, 1847 embraces the tales of the intrepid explorers who charted the Americas to show-stopping entertainers like Lola Montez and General Tom Thumb; the famine-starved Irish to persecuted German emigrants; the ivory-tinkling genius of Liszt and Mendelssohn to the horse-bound Comanche warriors who dominated the Texan plains; the American opium magnates who ran roughshod over China to the Irish soldiers who fought for Mexico; and the ground-breaking inventors of the telegraph and the Christmas cracker to the Arctic explorers and Australian settlers who pushed against the frontiers of the known world. 1847 is a rich and stirring portrait of a chaotic globe surging towards the modern age, where eclectic characters and revolutionary events collide to reveal a world of bold genius, fearsome savagery and the most noble generosity.
  • AWWVC
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    'The greatest history of an event I know' - C.L.R. James Regarded by many as among the most powerful works of history ever written, The History of the Russian Revolution offers an unparalleled account of one of the most pivotal and hotly debated events in world history. This book presents, from the perspective of one of its central actors, the profound liberating character of the early Russian Revolution. Originally published in three parts, Trotsky's masterpiece is collected here in a single volume. It is still the most vital and inspiring record of the Russian Revolution ever published.
  • BGNVK
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    The American Revolution reshaped the political map of the world, and led to the birth of the United States of America. Yet these outcomes could have scarcely been predicted when the first shots were fired at Lexington and Concord. American rebel forces were at first largely a poorly trained, inexperienced and disorganized militia, pitted against one of the most formidable imperial armies in the world. Yet following a succession of defeats against the British, the rebels slowly rebounded in strength under the legendary leadership of George Washington. The fortunes of war ebbed and flowed, from the humid southern states of America to the frozen landscapes of wintry Canada, but eventually led to the catastrophic British defeat at Yorktown in 1781 and the establishment of an independent United States of America. The Improbable Victory is a revealing and comprehensive guide to this seminal conflict, from the opening skirmishes, through the major pitched battles, up to the Treaty of Paris in 1783. Impressively illustrated with photographs and artwork, it provides an invaluable insight into this conflict from the major command decisions down to the eye level of the front-line soldier.
  • BPYYR
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    King George V's role in the withdrawal of an asylum offer was covered up. Britain refused to allow any Grand Dukes to come to England, a fact that is rarely explored. When Russia erupted into revolution, almost overnight the pampered lifestyle of the Imperial family vanished. Within months many of them were under arrest and they became `enemies of the Revolution and the Russian people'. All showed great fortitude and courage during adversity. None of them wanted to leave Russia; they expected to be back on their estates soon and to live as before. When it became obvious that this was not going to happen a few managed to flee but others became dependent on their foreign relatives for help. For those who failed to escape, the questions remain. Why did they fail? What did their relatives do to help them? Were lives sacrificed to save other European thrones? After thirty-five years researching and writing about the Romanovs, Coryne Hall considers the end of the 300-year-old dynasty - and the guilt of the royal families in Europe over the Romanovs' bloody end. Did the Kaiser do enough? Did George V? When the Tsar's cousins King Haakon of Norway and King Christian of Denmark heard of Nicholas's abdication, what did they do? Unpublished diaries of the Tsar's cousin Grand Duke Dmitri give a new insight to the Romanovs' feelings about George V's involvement.
  • BKMCX
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    The French Revolution of 1789 had grand humanitarian aims that would one day inspire the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Russians took the French revolutionary agenda and reinforced it with sturdy German philosophy to form a beautiful vision in which remnants of theology combined with the power of art as a force for change. The Arc of Utopia offers a fresh look at the German philosophical origins of the Russian Revolution. Lesley Chamberlain relates how the influential German philosophers Kant, Schiller and Hegel were dazzled by contemporary events in Paris, and how art and philosophy exploded on the streets of Russia, with a long-repressed people uniquely reinventing the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity. Some of the greatest names of nineteenth-century Russia, from Alexander Herzen to Mikhail Bakunin, Ivan Turgenev to Fyodor Dostoevsky, defined their visions for Russia in relation to the German enthusiasm for revolutionary France. Published to tie in with the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, The Arc of Utopia provides an original view of the Revolution that links the final upheaval of October 1917 with an astonishing period in art, street drama and poetry.
  • BSMQX
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    The sugar planter Simon Taylor, who claimed ownership of over 2,248 enslaved people in Jamaica at the point of his death in 1813, was one of the wealthiest slaveholders ever to have lived in the British empire. Slavery was central to the eighteenth-century empire. Between the seventeenth and the nineteenth centuries, hundreds of thousands of enslaved people were brought from Africa to the Caribbean to toil and die within the brutal slave regime of the region, most of them destined for a life of labour on large sugar plantations. Their forced labour provided the basis for the immense fortunes of plantation owners like Taylor; it also produced wealth that poured into Britain. However, a tumultuous period that saw the American, French, and Haitian Revolutions, as well as the rise of the abolitionist movement, witnessed new attacks on slavery and challenged the power of a once-confident slaveholder elite. In White Fury, Christer Petley uses Taylor's rich and expressive letters to allow us an intimate glimpse into the aspirations and frustrations of a wealthy and powerful British slaveholder during the Age of Revolution. The letters provide a fascinating insight into the merciless machinery and unpredictable hazards of the Jamaican plantation world; into the ambitions of planters who used the great wealth they extracted from Jamaica to join the ranks of the British elite; and into the impact of wars, revolutions, and fierce political struggles that led, eventually, to the reform of the exploitative slave system that Taylor had helped build . . . and which he defended right up until the last weak scratches of his pen.