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Rebel Cities

Rebel Cities

London, Paris and New York in the eighteenth century, as today, were places where political authority, commerce and money, art and intellectual life intersected. They straddled an Atlantic world where ships powered by nothing more than wind, currents and human muscle criss-crossed the sea, carrying with them goods, ideas and above all people: men and women, bewigged aristocrats and lawyers, rough-handed craftworkers, quill-wielding bluestockings and doughty fishwives. But the cities were also home to dangerous criminals, corrupt politicians­ – and slaves.

Rebel Cities explores the stormy debate about the nature of cities in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: were they places of enlightenment, sparkling wells of progress and civilisation, or were they dens of vice, degeneracy and disorder? Against a backdrop of accelerating urban expansion and revolution in both Europe and North America, revolutionary burghers of these extraordinary cities expended ink, paint, breath and, sometimes, blood in their struggle to understand, control and master the urban world.

Drawing on hundreds of letters, travelogues and eye-witness accounts, Mike Rapport vividly evokes the sights, sounds and smells of these cities, masterfully weaving their history with the politics of revolution.

When New Yorkers and Parisians experienced their revolution, when their cities went to war, and when Londoners engaged in political protest, they underwent the whole torrent and exhilaration of human emotions. Determining the character of the cities through their inhabitants, as well as their architecture, topography and the events that shaped them, this magnificent book evokes what it was like for all parts of society to live in London, Paris and New York in one of the most transformative periods in the history of civilisation.
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Genre: Humanities / History / History: Earliest Times To Present Day / Modern History To 20th Century: C 1700 To C 1900

On Sale: 4th May 2017

Price: £25

ISBN-13: 9780748121984

Reviews

Lucid, engaging, and evocatively written
The Nation
A refreshingly vibrant narrative. At times, [Rapport's] political study could almost double as a travelogue
New York Times
Rapport traces revolution, and counterrevolution, throughout the cities, taking the reader from location to location, and even down individual streets, providing the reader with an on-the-ground experience
Gotham Centre for New York History
Captivating . . . gripping . . . The book is a pleasure to read and a welcome addition to the literature on the revolutionary era across the Atlantic
American Historical Review