A discussion of Jonathan Perl-Rosenthal's new book, The Age of Revolutions: And the Generations Who Made It (Basic Books, 2024). The author will be joined in conversation by David Armitage (Harvard University) and Marlene Daut (Yale University), moderated by Bob Shrum (USC). Registration is required. REGISTER HERE


About the Book: A panoramic, "persuasive and inspiring" (New Yorker) new history of the revolutionary decades between 1760 and 1825, from North America and Europe to Haiti and Spanish America, showing how progress and reaction went hand in hand. The revolutions that raged across Europe and the Americas over seven decades, from 1760 to 1825, created the modern world. Revolutionaries shattered empires, toppled social hierarchies, and birthed a world of republics. But old injustices lingered on and the powerful engines of revolutionary change created new and insidious forms of inequality. In The Age of Revolutions, historian Nathan Perl-Rosenthal offers the first narrative history of this entire era. Through a kaleidoscope of lives both familiar and unknown—from John Adams, Toussaint Louverture, and Napoleon to an ambitious French naturalist and a seditious Peruvian nun—he retells the revolutionary epic as a generational story. The first revolutionary generation, fired by radical ideas, struggled to slip the hierarchical bonds of the old order. Their failures molded a second generation, more adept at mass organizing but with an illiberal tint. The sweeping political transformations they accomplished after 1800 etched social and racial inequalities into the foundations of modern democracy. 


About the Author: Nathan Perl-Rosenthal is Professor of History at the University of Southern California. His writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The Nation, and the Los Angeles Times. His first book, Citizen Sailors: Becoming American in the Age of Revolution (Belknap/Harvard, 2015), won the Society for French Historical Studies’ Gilbert Chinard Prize, for “a distinguished scholarly book published in North America in the history of themes shared by France and North, Central, or South America.”


Open to attendants outside of USC. An excerpt of the book will be made available to registered attendants. Registration before the event is required. 


This event is part of the Levan Institute for the Humanities' “Book Chats” series, conversations about new books published by USC scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. To see more events in this series, including recordings of past events, visit https://dornsife.usc.edu/levan-institute/book-chats/.

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