Author(s): Adam Zamoyski
A magnificent and timely examination of an age of fear, subversion and espionage. Adam Zamoyski explores the struggle by governments to police a world seemingly threatened by obscure forces and revolutionary conspiracy dedicated to the overthrow of civilisation - and their exploitation of the threat for their own ends.The French Revolution and the blood-curdling violence it engendered terrified the ruling and propertied classes of Europe. Unable to grasp how such horrors could have come about, many concluded that it was the result of a devilish conspiracy hatched by Freemasons inspired by the ideas of the Enlightenment with the aim of overthrowing the entire social order, along with the legal and religious principles it stood on. Others traced it back to the Reformation or the Knights Templar and ascribed even more sinister aims to it.Faced by this apparently occult threat, they resorted to repression on an unprecedented scale, expanding police and spy networks in the process. Napoleon managed to contain the revolutionary elements in France and those parts of Europe he controlled, but while many welcomed this, others saw in him no more than the spawn of the Revolution, propagating its doctrines by other means. After his defeat at Waterloo in 1815, his victors united to maintain the old order, suppress of all opposition, and ferret out of the conspirators whom they believed to be plotting mayhem and murder in the shadows.In this ground-breaking study best-selling historian Adam Zamoyski exposes their pusillanimous yet cynical recourse to the police spy and the bayonet, which only intensified their own fears and pushed ordinary people towards subversion, building up the pressure of opposition to their rule.When it came, with the revolutions of 1848, the dreaded cataclysm revealed their fears to have been groundless; the masses stirred into revolt by hunger and oppressive living conditions were leaderless and easily pacified. There never had been any conspiracy. But the police were there to stay, and the paradigm of an order threatened by dark forces is also still with us today. This compelling history, occasionally chilling and often hilarious, tells how the modern state evolved through the expansion of its organs of control, and holds urgent lessons for today
Praise for '1812: Napoleon's Fatal March on Moscow': 'So brilliant that it is impossible to put the book aside...a master craftsman at work' Michael Burleigh, Sunday Times 'A brilliant piece of narrative history, full of sparkling set-pieces' T.J. Binyon, Sunday Telegraph 'One of the greatest stories ever told' Spectator Praise for 'Rites of Peace: The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna' 'Outstanding - a delicious, triumphant feast of a book' Simon Sebag Montefiore, Daily Mail 'Magnificent...both an intellectual and literary joy to read' The Times
Adam Zamoyski was born in New York, was educated at Oxford, and lives in London and Poland. A full-time writer, his books include 'Paderewski', 'The Last King of Poland','1812: Napoleon's Fatal March on Moscow', which was a Sunday Times bestseller, 'Rites of Peace: The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna', 'Warsaw 1920' and 'Chopin'. He is married to the painter Emma Sergeant.