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Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century | [Christian Caryl]

Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century

Few moments in history have seen as many seismic transformations as 1979. That one year marked the emergence of revolutionary Islam as a political force on the world stage, the beginning of market revolutions in China and Britain that would fuel globalization, and the first stirrings of the resistance movements in Eastern Europe and Afghanistan that ultimately led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. More than any other year in the latter half of the 20th century, 1979 heralded the economic, political, and religious realities that define the 21st century.
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Publisher's Summary

Few moments in history have seen as many seismic transformations as 1979. That one year marked the emergence of revolutionary Islam as a political force on the world stage, the beginning of market revolutions in China and Britain that would fuel globalization, and the first stirrings of the resistance movements in Eastern Europe and Afghanistan that ultimately led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. More than any other year in the latter half of the 20th century, 1979 heralded the economic, political, and religious realities that define the 21st century.

Strange Rebels shows how the world we live in today began to take shape in this pivotal year. 1979 saw a series of counterrevolutions against the progressive consensus that had dominated the postwar era. The year’s epic upheavals embodied a startling conservative challenge to communist and socialist systems around the globe, fundamentally transforming politics and economics worldwide. In China, 1979 marked the start of sweeping market-oriented reforms that have made the country the economic powerhouse it is today. 1979 was also the year that Pope John Paul II traveled to Poland, confronting communism in Eastern Europe by reigniting its people’s suppressed Catholic faith. In Iran, the Islamic Revolution transformed the nation into a theocracy almost overnight, overthrowing the shah’s modernizing monarchy. Farther west, Margaret Thatcher became prime minister of Britain, returning it to a purer form of free-market capitalism and opening the way for Ronald Reagan to do the same in the United States. And in Afghanistan, a Soviet invasion fueled an Islamic holy war with global consequences; the Afghan mujahedin presaged the rise of al-Qaeda and served as a key factor in the fall of communism.

Weaving the story of each of these counterrevolutions into a gripping narrative, Strange Rebels is a groundbreaking account of how these far-flung events and disparate actors and movements gave birth to our modern age.

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What the Critics Say

"If you haven’t thought much about the year 1979, it’s time you should. In this provocative work of scholarship and reporting, Christian Caryl argues that this was the year when a counter-revolution - led by Margaret Thatcher, John Paul II, Ayatollah Khomeini, and Deng Xiaoping - changed the course of history. After reading this book you won’t think the same way about the 20th century again." (Anne Applebaum, New York Times best-selling author of Iron Curtain)

"In a highly focused work, Foreign Affairs deputy editor Caryl finds that the year 1979 engendered a remarkable crop of history-changing leaders…. As ably shown by Caryl, the events of this cataclysmic year would continue to bear fruit for years to come. An astute assessment of the efforts of a group of historic newsmakers." (Kirkus Reviews)

"The end of the 1970s saw the emergence of a dizzying array of ideologies and movements, and Caryl contends that their ripples are still spreading across the surface of the modern world…. Caryl displays an impressive facility with Western, Soviet, Chinese, and Islamic political traditions and circumstances, and he manages to present a relatively coherent and unified view of world affairs.” ("Publishers Weekly)

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    B Miller NY NY 05-19-13
    B Miller NY NY 05-19-13 Member Since 2004
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    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    this is an outstanding book that illuminates a fascinating turn of history. Although I lived through this period at the time I did not understand its significance. In fact in retrospect I did not understand it completely until I came across Mr. Caryl's book.My only complaint and it is a small one the author tends to repeat the same fact on many occasions without even letting the reader to understand like "As I indicated in Chapter One-----" small complaint, great book


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