In this classic work which analyzes the context in which thirty years of war and revolution wracked the European continent, the great historian Arno Mayer emphasizes the backwardness of the European economies and their political subjugation by aristocratic elites and their allies. Mayer turns upside down the vision of societies marked by modernization and forward-thrusting bourgeois and popular social classes, thereby transforming our understanding of the traumatic crises of the early twentieth century.
“A seminal book—extremely challenging. The historical and political implications of the ‘Mayer thesis’ will be widely discussed in years to come—certainly not only by specialists.”—Carlo Ginzburg
“Academics like me often wield the term ‘modernity’ as if it describes a centuries-old formation, but the fact is: a great part of Europe only became modern—in the sense of being post-feudal—in recent memory. The best treatment of this theme remains Arno Mayer’s The Persistence of the Old Regime.”—Corey Robin