Britain's Big Year
1688: The First Modern Revolution. By Steve Pincus. Yale Univ. Press. 647 pp. $40
Steve Pincus has produced the most important new work of English history in many years. His revolutionary and persuasive analysis of the Glorious Revolution of 1688 overthrows the traditional Whig interpretation of steady progress toward representative and elected government through Parliament that Lord Macaulay proposed in the mid-1800s. Along with Macaulay’s parallel narratives of the defeat of absolute monarchy, the flourishing of free institutions, and the triumph of commerce, this version has since become one of the founding myths of modern Britain—and also of the United States, whose Founding Fathers of 1776 saw themselves as defending the liberties secured in1688.
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Martin Walker is a Woodrow Wilson Center senior scholar. His latest novel, Bruno: Chief of Police (2009), has been translated into 10 languages.more from this author >>