Newswise — As revolt in the Middle East has spread from Tunisia to Egypt, with additional unrest in Jordan and Yemen, the uprising echo past political revolutions, says a historian at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Dr. John C. McManus, an associate professor of military history at Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T), says the recent uprisings are similar to past revolutions. Just as the American Revolution inspired France to win its own independence and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 spread throughout the former Soviet bloc, revolutions can become viral, McManus says.

"The take-home lesson from history is that you always have no idea how it's going to turn out, and that's kind of the scary part," says McManus. "You have no idea where the forces are going to go once they're unleashed."

McManus is available to discuss the current uprising in Egypt and related tensions in the Middle East.