Earthly Powers

Earthly Powers : The Conflict Between Religion & Politics from the French Revolution to the Great War

3.65 (173 ratings by Goodreads)
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A major work setting out the inextricable link between politics and religion over the past two centuries, from the French Revolution to the present day's War on Terror.

In this dazzling and hugely relevant book Michael Burleigh explores the way in which religion, broadly construed, functions within European societies.

`Earthly Powers' is an examination of the politics of religion and the religion of politics in Europe from the French Revolution until the Great War. Its astonishing scope encompasses the philosophers of the Enlightenment and the influence of thinkers like de Maistre and de Bonald and Lamennais, as well as the pseudo-religious aspects of Marxism. It looks at painters like Zoffany and David and analyses their representations of their times. It considers the exploits of O'Connell, hero of Catholic Emancipation, Mazzini, Mickiewicz and Garibaldi, and goes via nineteenth century English and Russian literature, to the epic struggles between Church and State, industry and the rise of Christian socialism. It concludes with the advent of the `old stone gods' that heralded the totalitarian political religions of the 20th-century.

Throughout, Burleigh's writing is never less than brilliant and absorbing, handling a welter of ideas and historical detail with confidence, verve and sophistication. He is always revealing and original, showing us the deeper workings of history in a way we have never seen before. It confirms him as one of Europe's greatest modern historians.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 576 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 31mm | 388g
  • HarperPerennial
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white illustrations, colour illustrations
  • 0007195737
  • 9780007195732
  • 239,849

Review quote

`Stimulating...fascinating and beautifully produced with superb colour illustrations and rich footnotes...Burleigh has written a thought-provoking, deeply civilised book.' Independent

`"Earthly Powers" can only cement Michael Burleigh's reputation as one of the leading historians of our time. It is a brilliantly wide-ranging and profoundly rewarding treatment of the part that religious instinct has played in the history of modern Europe.' Independent on Sunday

`A good history book is one that makes old, familiar landscapes seem new and unfamiliar. Historians who can do this are rare, but Michael Burleigh's "Earthly Powers" proves that he is one of them...Everybody who reads "Earthly Powers" will be grateful that Burleigh has put religion back into the history of politics.' Sunday Times

`Remarkable...the sheer volume of information presented here is startling and thrilling.' Observer

`An enormous and hugely ambitious subject...Michael Burleigh soars masterfully...across its wide horizons...scintillating.' BBC History Magazine
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About Michael Burleigh

Michael Burleigh is Distinguished Research Professor in Modern History at Cardiff University. He is the author of seven well-received books, including `Sacred Causes' (2006) and `The Third Reich', for which he was awarded the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2001.
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Rating details

173 ratings
3.65 out of 5 stars
5 18% (32)
4 40% (70)
3 32% (56)
2 6% (10)
1 3% (5)
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