Edward Vallance

The Revolution Will Not Be Realised

The Road Not Taken: How Britain Narrowly Missed a Revolution

By

The Bodley Head 610pp £25 order from our bookshop

Historians are fond of making grand claims for their particular periods of interest: to take just one example, a recent major history of the Glorious Revolution by Steve Pincus, 1688: The First Modern Revolution, contained the claim that it was not only bloodier than the French Revolution but also established the template for all subsequent modern revolutions. Arguments such as this certainly have value in provoking historical debate but they can become wearing when every historical event is described, either by historians or their publicists, as a ‘turning-point’, ‘watershed’, or suchlike.  It is refreshing, then, to be confronted with a book whose aim is actually the reverse: to show why Britain has not, contrary to the arguments of historians such as Pincus, experienced a ‘real’ revolution.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter