Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith

In This Review

Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith

By James H. Billington
Basic Books, 1980
677 pp. $25.00
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This major work explores the European dream of revolution. With what patience and what imagination Billington, a well-known historian, evokes the lives and thoughts of revolutionaries from pre-revolutionary France to the time of Lenin! The book focuses on "the spiritual thirst of those who think rather than on the material hunger of those who work." The relevance of the past to the present, through the audacious effort of an author alive to the unplumbed wealth of the one and the often unrecognized needs of the other, is triumphantly-if a little laboriously-demonstrated in this extraordinary study.