Constantin Ardeleanu, "Steamboat Modernity: Travel, Transport, and Social Transformation on the Lower Danube, 1830–1860" (CEU Press, 2024)


Through a skillful combination of economic and cultural history, this book describes the impact on Moldavia and Wallachia of steam navigation on the Danube. The Danube route integrated the two principalities into a dense network of European roads and waterways. From the 1830s to the 1860s, steamboat transport transformed time and space for the areas that benefited from regular services. River traffic accelerated urban development along the Lower Danube and contributed directly to institutional modernization in one of Europe's peripheries. Beyond technological advances and the transportation of goods on a trans-imperial waterway, steamboat travel revolutionized human interactions, too. Steamboat Modernity: Travel, Transport, and Social Transformation on the Lower Danube, 1830–1860 (CEU Press, 2024) offers a fascinating insight into the social and cultural milieu of the nineteenth century, drawing on first-hand accounts of Danube cruising. 

Describing the story of travelers who interacted, met, and visited the places they stopped, Constantin Ardeleanu creates a transnational history of travel up and down the Danube from Vienna to Constantinople. The pleasures and sometimes the travails of the travelers unfold against a backdrop of technical and economic transformation in the crucial period of modernization.

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Roland Clark

Roland Clark is a Reader in Modern European History at the University of Liverpool.

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