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Patriots and Liberators: Revolution in the Netherlands, 1780-1813 [Hardcover]

Simon Schama
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jun 1977
How the Dutch Republic of the Netherlands went from the powerful cash till of Europe to an impoverished and despised appendage of the French empire.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Random House Inc (T) (Jun 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394485165
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394485164
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.5 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,073,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University and the prize-winning author of fourteen books, which have been translated into twenty languages. They include The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age; Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution; Landscape and Memory; Rembrandt's Eyes; the History of Britain trilogy and Rough Crossings, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has written widely on music, art, politics and food for the Guardian, Vogue and the New Yorker. His award-winning television work as writer and presenter for the BBC stretches over two decades and includes the fifteen-part A History of Britain and the eight-part, Emmy-winning Power of Art. The American Future: A History appeared on BBC2 in autumn 2008.

Product Description


‘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

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University. Patriots and Liberators' has been awarded with the Wolfson Prize for History. He is the author of 'The Embarrassment of Riches', 'Citizens' which won the 1990 NCR book award for non-fiction, 'Dead Certainties', 'Landscape and Memory' which won the W H Smith Literary Award in 1995, and 'Rembrandt's Eyes' (1999). He is also the author of the monumental 'History of Britain' published in three volumes. He was art critic of the 'New Yorker' from 1995 to 1998 and was made CBE in the 2001 New Year's Honours list.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great as a a referance point for the 18th Century 12 July 2011
This book has some great chapters on Nationalism in the 1780's. However, be aware that this is not a book that you should judge by Schama's later work (post History of Britain). It is a product of academia and should be read as such rather than a rip-roaring account of the Dutch Republic's revolt
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Persevere! 28 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This fascinating book is well worth the effort of reading though it may take you some time: I'm not an academic but loved it. It isn't difficult, just dense with detail. Many of the early Dutch revolts were dress-rehearsals for the French revolution later. We don't find the sustained drama of the French Revolution because of the different circumstances, traditions and temper of the Dutch people. But we need to understand about all types of revolution, especially the ones without a guillotine. The main reservation I have is that Schama quite often reveals a sneering attitude to local people as opposed to "great men". For example he talks of those who "were accustomed to regard themselves as leaders of the Patriot elites in small towns or villages, hayseed replicas of the great van der Capellen or the lamented Paulus." His respect for ordinary endeavour seems lacking: not good when the final question is always about how future revolutions might work.
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Incredible detail about a 30+ year period in Dutch history.. 8 Nov 2000
By Dianne Foster - Published on Amazon.com
I have read most of Simon Schama's published works, and he is one of my favorite historians. His books range from the long to the short, from the survey text to the reseach tome. PATRIOTS AND LIBERATORS is a long research tome. The book contains 750 pages covering the years 1780s-1813 -- a period marked by the rise and fall of the Dutch Republic. A long bibliography and section of endnotes follows the text.
Readers of CITIZENS or AN EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES may not enjoy PATRIOTS quite as much as either of Schama's earlier books because it contains little joy. In CITIZENS, the French Revolution begins on a somewhat inspirational note, and though it is soon followed by a Reign of Terror, the rise of Napoleon restores some hope. In PATRIOTS, Schama continues the tale begun in CITIZENS, but the French Reign of Terror and Napoleon's exploits are viewed from the unhappy perspective of the Dutch.
While the French Revolution has sometimes been depicted as colorful, horrendous, and/or chilling, and Napoleons's exploits are often glorified with blue-white-red cockades as well as land and sea battles, the Netherlands knew only deprivation, destruction, and death at the hands of the French. And, although PATRIOTS begins at a time when the Dutch still enjoyed a bit of the prosperity depicted in RICHES, by the battle of Waterloo, economic conditions in the Netherlands were terrible.
Napoleon extracted every drop of wealth from every citizen of the Netherlands to finance his military exploits against other European powers. Although the Dutch originally established their own Republican government, it soon became a puppet of Napoleon. In the end, the Republic of the Netherlands was destroyed by the struggles of the European superpowers.
If you like history about the Napoleonic era, you will probably enjoy this book. If you are of Dutch descent, and want to gain a little insight into your ancestors experiences of ethnic cleansing and a holocaust during the early 1800s, this book will prove interesting and informative.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and well-written history- 30 Dec 2007
By Todd Nolan - Published on Amazon.com
Unless you're an academic and the Napoleonic Wars are one of your subjects, the Netherlands is probably known to you as that progressive, Scandinavian-type little nation that's always ahead of the rest of the world (euthanasia, maternity leave, employer-paid child care, transparency in government, equal pay for women, universal healthcare & post-secondary education, absence of violent crime, etc.); and maybe, some dim memory from high-school/college of the Golden Age, when the Dutch were one of the world's powers. This interesting history by Schama covers the years just before the French Revolution up to Waterloo.

The book is extremely detailed with what, at times, I thought was minutia, but Schama has a gift for telling a story. He probably could have written the book in 300 or so pages instead of 650, but he makes the detail interesting, and there isn't that much written about this era of Dutch history. Recommended not only for history fans, but for readers who want to mix in some non-fiction with their usual novels.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the effort 14 Jun 2009
By Lori Reeser - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The story of a former world power's decline into relative obscurity, which unfortunately coincided with the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars, this is a difficult but ultimately rewarding book. This was Schama's first book, and I believe it was from his thesis work.

The book covers a complicated period and is long enough that there is almost a complete turnover of characters. Add to this my complete unfamiliarity with all the characters, and their difficult (to American) names - Schimmelpennick, van der Capellan tot der Pol - and places - IJ, and IJssell, `s Hertogenbosh - and I found it pretty rough going at first. It took me nearly 200 pages before I was able to detect themes and remember people.

If you want a single theme and ongoing progress, this is not the time or place for you. Most of the story is about false starts, obstruction by individuals and groups intent on keeping their power, and changes in regimes. It bears a superficial resemblance to Revolutionary France (pre-Napoleon), but as Schama points out, this is only superficial. On the other hand if you are the kind of person who thinks you can learn a lot from the apparently unimportant, this is the book for you.

The two main lessons I learned from this book was that the change from mostly local powers controlling everything to a national (unitary) government required massive economic stress and (possibly) rule by another country. The other is that despite intense pressure from the French, the Dutch remained Dutch. These are lessons that are still relevant today.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Academic, but informative 13 Aug 2009
By Ravanagh Allan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book deals with how the Age of Revolutions played out in the Netherlands, whereas I was looking for how Holland seceded from Spanish rule, which I found in the excellent Blom book, and for your information, is as follows:

Spain inherited the united (post-Burgundian) Low Countries from Habsburg Austria by royal marriage. It over-taxed the prosperous Low Countries, and suppressed the growing Reformation Protestantism in the North. The northern provinces under William of Orange successfully revolted in the Eighty Years' War of the Sixteenth Century with the help of England and France, who were looking to hurt a hegemonic Spain booming on New World silver.

Furthermore, the Blom says the Dutch Golden Age of the Seventeenth Century occurred partly because of the internal problems besetting England and France at the time. Indeed it was the relative decline of the next century that led to the democratic/Enlightenment Patriot Revolution Schama describes that swept away the Dutch ancien regime, prior to Napoleonic annexation lasting till Waterloo (after which the British seized the Cape Colony), which was followed by another union with Belgium (made brief by Belgian resentment at- Dutch domination of the state and at- the authoritarianism of Restoration monarchy), in a United Kingdom of the Netherlands, formed to make a more powerful buttress to France.

Bong on, Homes!
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