Strange Rebels

Strange Rebels

1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century

Book - 2013
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"Most historians would have us believe that the 20th century ended and the 21st century began in 1989, with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the triumph of the West over the Soviet Union. But as veteran journalist Christian Caryl shows in Strange Rebels, the world we live in today--and the problems that plague it--can actually be traced back a decade earlier. 1979 was the year that the postwar order evaporated, reshaping the international system and making way for a new era of global history. As Caryl shows, 1979 marked the launch of a global counterrevolution against the secular, progressive consensus that had dominated the world since the end of World War II. At the heart of this countermovement was popular disenchantment with many governments' attempts to create rational, egalitarian societies within their countries; by the 1970s, such utopian quests seemed only to have yielded static, imbalanced systems that allowed local elites to impose rigid, mechanistic political visions on their constituents, undermining traditional sensibilities, beliefs, and freedoms in the process. The epic series of counterrevolutions that took place in 1979 threw off these utopian systems and replaced them with more pragmatic, traditional ones, fundamentally transforming politics and economics across the world. As Caryl vividly proves in Strange Rebels, our modern age--with its politicized religion, post-communist globalization, and laissez-faire economics--would not exist were it not for the events of 1979. Indeed, 1989 itself could not have happened without the counterrevolutions of this fateful year. Weaving together these dramatic stories into a paradigm-shifting revision of our recent history, Caryl offers a startling new argument about the hinge on which the twentieth century turned"--
"After World War II, a secular, progressive consensus defined the international order. That changed in 1979, when a series of counterrevolutions swept the globe, blazing a path for a new era. China launched reforms that would make it the economic powerhouse it is today. Pope John Paul II traveled to Poland, challenging communism in Eastern Europe by reigniting its people's suppressed Catholic faith. An Islamic revolution transformed Iran into a theocracy almost overnight, while the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan gave rise to that country's mujahedin resistance, the precursor to al-Qaeda. Margaret Thatcher became prime minister, returning Britain to a purer form of free-market capitalism-and inspiring Ronald Reagan to do the same. Weaving these stories into a brisk and gripping narrative, award-winning journalist Christian Caryl's Strange Rebels offers a groundbreaking explanation of the year that set the course for the twenty-first century. "--
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, a member of the Perseus Books Group ; [2013]
ISBN: 9780465018383
Branch Call Number: History 909.827 CAR


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rsmbarlow Dec 06, 2014

This is a fantastic book! It's packed with detail but is an easy read. Caryl brings in all the threads to explain how events unfolded, and their continued impact today. I was 11 in 1979 so much of this passed by me unnoticed. This book has been a great chance to catch-up!


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