Bookstrapping - Age of Revolutions by Fareed Zakaria

As per the review by Reeta Ramamurthy Gupta, among many other insights, the author Fareed Zakaria proposes that the first move to defy monarchy and form a republican government was in the late 16th century; viz. the revolution in the Netherlands. This was an important movement that also spread to Britain, which soon after also pioneered the industrial revolution.

By  Reeta Ramamurthy GuptaJun 22, 2024 9:45 AM
Bookstrapping - Age of Revolutions by Fareed Zakaria
As per Reeta Ramamurthy Gupta's review, author Fareed Zakaria goes on to emphasise that the state of the world today, is dispersed. There is a loss of faith in God, religion, politics, institutions, norms, and experts. Referencing Lee Kuan Yew’s work in Singapore, he asks, “How do we build a common civic culture?”

Do revolutions contain the seeds of their own undoing?

Those following international affairs would be extremely familiar with Fareed Zakaria of CNN . 'Age of Revolutions: Progress and Backlash from 1600 to the Present' is his fourth book. In his trademark style, he asks disturbing questions and refuses to put a lid conflicts with faux understanding.

First up, he is painting on a very broad canvas, covering the period from 1600 to the present. Daunting as it is, the book took him ten years to write and understandably so. Here are our five #Bookstrappping insights.

1. One of the important points the author tries to make in the book is that we needlessly romanticise the past. He categorically says that he has no desire to return to the comforts of an ‘imagined past.’ The dimly remembered golden age that people refer to, was perhaps not so golden after all its inequalities, repression and patriarchy. Quite true, even from a medical advancement and age expectancy perspective.

2. Zakaria proposes that the first move to defy monarchy and form a republican government was in the late 16th century; viz. the revolution in the Netherlands. This was an important movement that also spread to Britain, which soon after also pioneered the industrial revolution. Zakaria also puts in perspective, the aftermath of the failed French revolution and points out that we are currently in the midst of a massive churn that impacts the economics, technology, identity and geopolitics of the world. Everywhere you look, there is dramatic change and the rules-based international order has been destabilized!

3. Zakaria adds authoritatively that among other things, every revolution thrives despite deep resistance and also creates a new identity for its people. For example, the industrial resolution created a category called the ‘working class’.

4. Zakaria is not averse to making statements that would make the most ardent liberalists squirm! For even though the nations of the world had long struggles for independence, the resultant freedom has perhaps made people quite ‘lost’, simply because it comes at the expense of authority and tradition! With the binding forces of religion, customs and communities being discarded, people are freer but, lonelier. Food for thought?

5. Zakaria goes on to emphasise that the state of the world today, is dispersed. There is a loss of faith in God, religion, politics, institutions, norms, and experts. Referencing Lee Kuan Yew’s work in Singapore, he asks, “How do we build a common civic culture?”

The post Brexit unified Europe maybe worth celebrating after all! Zakaria remarks that modern civilisation may have given human beings, greater freedom, wealth, and dignity, then any before it! However, the more disunited, petty and myopic we are, the easier it is for us to lose confidence and destroy ourselves in the bargain! So all progress may come to nought if we do not give up our radicalism!

A wonderful tome to be discussed in every book club around the world.

Reeta Ramamurthy Gupta is a columnist and bestselling biographer. She is credited with the internationally acclaimed Red Dot Experiment, a decadal six-nation study on how ‘culture impacts communication.’ A reading coach, you can find her on Instagram @OfficialReetaGupta

First Published on Jun 22, 2024 9:43 AM

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