1847: the Russian liberal Alexander Herzen and his family leave Moscow on a short-term permit, become embroiled in the revolutionary upheavals of 1848 in Paris and Italy and, unable to return to Tsarist Russia, find themselves condemned to permanent exile. As they move from one European country to another, their lives are punctuated by romance and illusion, intrigue and adultery.
Through a series of witty and perfectly executed pen portaits, Carr brings to life a fascinating group of liberal propagandists, exiled anarchists, dissident aristocrats and, inevitably, the occasional police spy, steering the reader through their conspiratorial entanglements. He allows Herzen to take centre stage, although the actors themselves gave this honour to Mikhail Bakunin, 'the father of Russian anarchism' and the most charismatic figure in this extraordinary tale. In addition to triangular love affairs and the exiles' yearning for a return to the heady days of 1848, this is a story of financial skulduggery and personal tragedy for almost everyone involved as Romantic ideas - personal, political and philosophical - crumble in the face of the rise of nationalism in Europe.
E.H. Carr's moving account has all the qualities of an epic nineteenth-century novel, considering events from a variety of points of view and presenting a vast range of colourful characters whose individual complexities combine to embody the collective beliefs to which he pays tribute.
- European history
- Paperback / softback
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- Country of origin:
- United Kingdom
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