Sister Revolutions

French Lightning, American Light

Susan Dunn


"Sister Revolutions is a keen and judicious meditation on the two great revolutions that created the modern world."


In 1790, the American diplomat and politician Gouverneur Morris compared the French and American Revolutions, saying that the French "have taken Genius instead of Reason for their guide, and adopted Experiment instead of Experience, and wander in the Dark because they prefer Lightning to Light." Although both revolutions professed similar Enlightenment ideals of freedom, equality, and justice, there were dramatic differences. Why did the two revolutions follow such different trajectories? What influence have the two different visions of democracy had on modern history? In a lucid narrative style, Susan Dunn traces the legacies of the two great revolutions through modern history and up to the revolutionary movements of our own time. Her combination of history and political analysis will appeal to all who take an interest in the way democratic nations are governed.

"Stimulating and provocative...Sister Revolutions shows not only how the French and American experiments developed, but also why their differing examples have continued to beguile ambitious leaders."


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"Susan Dunn writes most vividly [and] finds some fresh things to say about this old but rich topic."


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