The fearful, frenzied elites

Phantom-TerrorI’ve got a new review in the Los Angeles Review of Books of Phantom Terror: Political Paranoia and the Creation of the Modern State, 1789-1848. Here’s the gist:

Anyone who has studied the politics of this period knows that its elites lived in constant fear of revolution. Zamoyski’s contribution is to transform this fear from a general theme into a more focused object of inquiry. European elites’ paranoia about revolution takes shape as a set of specific beliefs sustained and exchanged by powerful figures like Metternich, the Duke of Wellington, and the tsars of Russia. Capturing the precise effects of the Revolution’s “Protean force” is a significant achievement of both documentation and narrative, but the amorphous nature of the subject necessarily limits Zamoyski’s analysis of its significance for our world today.

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