In every age treason has been considered one of the worst crimes. Much has been written about treason, but until today no one has attempted a “history” of this heinous behaviour. Flores’s new book is a history of “modern” treason, which emerged in the mid-18th century and became widespread during the French and American Revolutions. Political betrayal was interpreted as a violation of the covenant binding citizens to their homeland. But is someone really a traitor if he is fighting for his country’s independence or she wants to overthrow a government and drastically change the State? The author traces the development of treason from the American Revolution to World War I, offering numerous examples – both notorious and unfamiliar – drawn from the annals of history in Europe, the United States, Japan, Argentina, and Mexico and the colonial pasts of China, South Africa, and India.
Marcello Flores teaches History of Human Rights and History of Culture at the University of Siena.