The World That Never Was
A True Story of Dreamers, Schemers, Anarchists and Secret Agents
By Alex Butterworth
(Vintage Books, Paperback, 9780307386755, 518pp.)
Publication Date: August 9, 2011
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In the late nineteenth century, nations the world over were mired in economic recession and beset by social unrest, their leaders increasingly threatened by acts of terrorism and assassination from anarchist extremists.
In this riveting history of that tumultuous period, Alex Butterworth follows the rise of these revolutionaries from the failed Paris Commune of 1871 to the 1905 Russian Revolution and beyond. Through the interwoven stories of several key anarchists and the secret police who hunted them, Butterworth vividly describes how a movement born in idealism turned increasingly to desperate acts of terrorism and murder. Rich in anecdote and with a fascinating array of supporting characters, The World That Never Was offers a revelatory portrait of an era with uncanny echoes of our own.