From America's fight for independence to the Paris Commune - an exotic collection of fanatics, adventurers, poets and thinkers are brought vividly to life.
Holy Madness probes into the psyche that was responsible for so many of the founding events of our modern world, and into the instincts that inspired its most generous and most murderous impulses. It explains how the Enlightenment dislodged Christianity from its central position in the life of European societies and how man's quest for ecstasy and transcendence flooded into areas such as the arts, spawning the Romantic movement.
This dramatic journey which begins in America in 1776 and goes right up to the last agony of the Paris Commune in 1871, takes in the French revolution, the Irish rebellion, the Polish risings, the war of Greek liberation, the Russian insurrection, the Hungarian struggles for freedom, the liberation of South America, and the Italian Risorgimento.
'An ambitious and in many ways brilliant book' Hilary Mantel