Between 1780 and 1813 the Dutch Republic – a country once rich enough to be called the cash till of Europe and powerful enough to make war with England – was stripped of its colonies, invaded by its enemies, driven to the edge of bankruptcy, and, finally, reduced to becoming an appendage of the French empire – an appendage not even the French seemed to value overmuch. Out of these events Simon Schama has constructed a gripping chronicle of revolution and privateering, constitutions and coups, in a tiny nation desperately struggling to stay afloat in a sea of geopolitics. Like his classics ‘The Embarrassment of Riches’ and ‘Citizens’, ‘Patriots and Liberators’ combines a mastery of historical sources with an unabashed delight in narrative. The result confirms Schama as a historian in the finest tradition – one whose study of the past reveals volumes about the present. This is one of our most revered historians’ greatest works, and this new Perennial edition will reintroduce his genius to a new generation of readers.
Reviews of Patriots and Liberators
‘An outstanding work of historical scholarship…Simon Schama writes brilliantly. He can bring a character alive in a sentence…This powerful book reads with the ease of a novel. Every page glitters with intelligence and perception. In every way “Patriots and Liberators” is an extraordinary achievement.’ J.H. Plumb
‘This remarkable book is more than a revision, it is a revelation.’ A.J.P. Taylor, Observer
‘A dramatic story, full of pathos and true comedy. If any book may be said to inhale without sententiousness the clear, calm and steadying air of a European ideal, this is it.’ Michael Ratcliffe, The Times
‘Schama’s book is written in the grand manner, its sweep is as impressive as its erudition and the constant brilliance of its style. He gives the Dutch revolution back to the people to whom it belonged – the Dutch.’ Economist