After a period in which it seemed that historians' interest in the 19th century had faded and contemporary history involved only the 20th century, there is now a renewed awareness for the "Bourgeois Century". This new work by one of the most renowned Italian scholars specialized in 19th century history is thus quite timely. It provides a comprehensive overview of that era and proposes a unitary reading of contemporary history, the key features of which began to emerge fully in the 19th century. This century was a "long" one, stretching from the French Revolution to World War I. Solidly anchored to facts and chronology, the author clearly identifies the main features - in culture, politics, society and the economy - that defined an age that ushered in a modernity that endures to the present day.
Raffaele Romanelli teaches Contemporary History at the La Sapienza University in Rome.