Birth of the Modern

Birth of the Modern

World Society 1815-1830

by Paul Johnson
Publisher: HarperCollins
Trade Paperback, 1095 pages
List Price: $19.95 Our Price: $10.00

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This hefty but lively tome argues for the years 1815-30 (the epoch of Andrew Jackson, Wordsworth, Goya and Beethoven) as "those during which the matrix of the modern world was formed," citing developments like the rise of democracy and the separation of science from the broader culture. Johnson leaps from country to country, from politics to art to literature to medicine, in a fashion that makes for better browsing than consecutive reading. His prose is generally crisp and pleasant to read, and the book is such that one can pick it up, open it nearly at random, and learn something interesting about the past but which retains significance today.

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