books on the french revolution
My problem with most of the stories is that they tend to be fairly negative. The revolution raises the whole issue of how change takes place, and how much people should organise to insist that change takes place. So he’s taking the Tocqueville argument even further: Democracy can lead not just to despotism, but to totalitarianism. People have higher expectations and then they’re more disappointed. The three-volume work, first published in 1837 (with a revised edition in print by 1857), charts the course of the French Revolution from 1789 to the height of the Reign of Terror (1793–94) and culminates in 1795. So he was a great French historian, elected to the Academie Française in 1997. Schama is not a specialist on the French Revolution is he? The French don’t invent that. You see in Italy at the time, the new people, the new warrior princes like the Medici and so on, they were coming to power without any royal tradition behind them. I really figured it out.” They said to themselves, and in print, that there is something about it that’s just extremely hard to get at, try as you might. It’s completely different from the other books. Because everyone from then on is thinking, what are we going to do about this? What’s striking is that he is able to develop broad analytical categories that relate the French Revolution to the direction of modern society as a whole, which he sees as the destruction of the aristocracy and the coming of democracy. The main outlines of the Revolution, the proportion and relation of things, tend to become obscured under the accumulation of historical detail that is now proceeding. Discover the list of some best books written on French Revolution by popular award winning authors. It inaugurates an enormous debate about how far you can go to change things just because you think it’s reasonable and right to change them, and how much change has to take place in a more gradual way. For him it’s still a great and incredibly important event, but it’s one with extremely problematic implications. These are debates we have right up to the present: How to negotiate the tension between what we currently have and what ought to be. “The whole question, “Does the revolution fail?” or “Why does the revolution fail?” is a misguided one.”. You must have a goodreads account to vote. It was not just an academic question, but a general political question in the West. It’s not that he’s just kind of around. Because it’s all ideology it doesn’t actually set up democratic forms of government, it veers off into terror and totalitarianism instead. He was able to say, “Well, what did you expect them to do?” Being confronted with a civil war in the west, with every single monarchical power in Europe aligned against you, what are you supposed to say? Protesting injustice, sassing their elders, and sometimes saving the world. He’s an incredible enthusiast. The French revolution brings an end to monarchy and ushers a new beginning in France. Read. It was partly because he wrote it in a mode that would be much more common in internal debates within the Communist Party, rather than in an academic article. They institute equality under the law for ever. What aspect of the French Revolution has most relevance today, in your view? So...pretty much like kids during any other... Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution, Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution, The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade, Twelve Who Ruled: The Year of the Terror in the French Revolution, The Lost King of France: How DNA Solved the Mystery of the Murdered Son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, Marie Antoinette: The Portrait of an Average Woman, Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution, El Dorado: Further Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel, The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B. This is an incredibly brilliant perception. According to Wikipedia: "Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc (27 July 1870 – 16 July 1953) was an Anglo-French writer and historian who became a naturalised British subject in 1902. Palmer’s Twelve Who Ruled is my single most favourite book on the French Revolution. Five Books aims to keep its book recommendations and interviews up to date. What is so great about Tocqueville is that he looks at archives and studies the events, but he applies to it an amazing synthetic and analytical intelligence. He’s incredibly good at giving you a sense of what these people are confronted with, the incredible difficulty of their situation and the unbelievable stress of the circumstances they find themselves in. Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution Five Books participates in the Amazon Associate program and earns money from qualifying purchases. Needless to say it led many people on the other side to develop a visceral hatred of Furet. Interpreting the French Revolution But there was a way in which, in the French case, they celebrate having done it. My own personal critique of Tocqueville is that he is too negative about what goes on during the revolution. I think in this regard it may just be a handy exemplar of historical events generally. A king had been beheaded before, as we know, in England. Thomas Carlyle (Author), John D. Rosenberg (Introduction) 4.1 out of 5 stars 39 ratings. There’s very little analysis. The object of this book is similar to that with which a few years ago, I wrote a short biography of Napoleon. Read 17 567 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. 1.1 The French Revolution by Ian Davidson; 1.2 Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution by Simon Schama; 1.3 Revolutionary Ideas: An Intellectual History of the French Revolution from The Rights of Man to Robespierre by Jonathan Israel; 1.4 The French Revolutionary Wars by G. Fremont-Barnes You have to change the world through concrete political programmes. What explains how this could possibly happen? After the events unravel in the way they unravel, he is able to stand back and say, “What is going on? But he’s just fantastic at getting you inside the rooms where these decisions are being made. We have these revolutions in the name of liberty and we end up with a despotic, authoritarian ruler.” It’s a problem we still grapple with today. Tocqueville’s book had an incredibly wide influence in a variety of fields, with a variety of readerships. “Oh well! It’s a tragedy and a paradox. It rips off the veil of tradition and says that the only justification for government is that it makes sense, that it’s fair, that it’s equal, that it’s just. In the English case, it was more, “We had to do it, because of the circumstances.” It isn’t connected to any re-imagining of the entire political order. Peter McPhee was appointed to a Personal Chair in History at the University of Melbourne in 1993. Many books have been written about it, but I loved your comment, in your presidential address to the American Historical Association that “every great interpreter of the French Revolution – and there have been many such – has found the event ultimately mystifying”. For example, the storming of the Bastille and general assembly are listed as having occurred in 1798 (near the end of the revolution) when in fact it was 1789. French Revolution: A History from Beginning to End: One Hour History Revolution, Book 1. by Hourly History and Stephen Paul Aulridge Jr. 4.4 out of 5 stars 93. I’m actually not convinced he is right about it, but it’s a very powerful analysis. A Tale of Two Cities book. 3 Her 2007 work, Inventing Human Rights, has been heralded as the most comprehensive analysis of the history of human rights. This is an older book, from 1941, but very readable. It is actually true of all events, it’s just that we don’t usually spend that much time thinking about every single event in our life. If you are the interviewee and would like to update your choice of books (or even just what you say about them) please email us at email@example.com. It’s not acceptable, just because it’s there. Top Books Top Audiobooks Oprah’s Book Club The French Revolution. Local Nav Open Menu Local Nav Close Menu. Dickens's `Tale of Two Cities' about the French Revolution must be one of the best books ever written - and though I prefer fact to fiction 99% of the time, this book is not quite as good as Dickens. He’s just fantastic at recreating that atmosphere and, as a result, forcing you to sympathise with these men. For him, what’s wrong with the revolution is that it’s all ideology and fighting over who is going to represent the general will of Rousseau and who is supposedly going to represent the people in democratic terms. You do it in order to get a democratic political life, but you don’t have the infrastructure in place to make that possible. Why do revolutions in the name of democracy – we see them happening at this very moment – end up having a problem institutionalising themselves as true democracies? Next, you’ve chosen Simon Schama’s Citizens. Tell me about his book, The Ancien Régime and the Revolution. The four wars of the French revolution (1874). This book, The four wars of the French revolution, by David Urquhart, is a replication of a book originally published before 1874. There will be many solutions to that problem. Poorly edited Interesting, but there are quite a few errors in this book. In that sense, it has an enormous impact. This is the problem. They’re about how people end up doing things that seem crazy to us in retrospect. Eric Hobsbawm was also very critical about Citizens wasn’t he, saying it continued an English tradition (including popular books like Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities) of focusing on the negative side of the French Revolution? This was in the 1970s, before the collapse of communism, and it seemed part of a general pulling away from a Marxist position, towards, and the question then was, what was the towards going to be? The French Revolution (1911), by Hilaire Belloc, is a comparatively short commentary on the great revolutionary experiment between the parliamentary quarrels of 1789 to the execution of Robespierre in 1794. This book will be handy for the students of history and others who are curious to know about the French revolution. (Josephine Bonaparte, #1), The Oxford History of the French Revolution, Liberty: The Lives and Times of Six Women in Revolutionary France, The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo, Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution, The Road from Versailles: Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, and the Fall of the French Monarchy, Marie-Thérèse, Child of Terror: The Fate of Marie Antoinette's Daughter, Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow (Marie Antoinette, #2), A People's History of the French Revolution, In the Reign of Terror: The Adventures of a Westminster Boy, Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe (Josephine Bonaparte, #2), The Last Great Dance on Earth (Josephine Bonaparte, #3), Becoming Marie Antoinette (Marie Antoinette, #1), Confessions of Marie Antoinette (Marie Antoinette, #3), The Long Affair: Thomas Jefferson and the French Revolution, 1785-1800, A Vindication of the Rights of Men & A Vindication of the Rights of Woman & An Historical and Moral View of the French Revolution, A Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution, The Road to Compiegne (French Revolution, #2), Annette Vallon: A Novel of the French Revolution, The Gods Are Thirsty: A Novel of the French Revolution, Dancing to the Precipice: Lucie de la Tour du Pin and the French Revolution, Memoirs of Madame de la Tour du Pin: Laughing and Dancing Our Way to the Precipice, Henrietta-Lucy Dillon de la Tour du Pin Gouvernet, Reasons for Wishing to Preserve the Life of Louis Capet as Delivered to the National Convention, Rising from Dust (Light from Aphelion, #1), George Washington's Liberty Key: Mount Vernon's Bastille Key - the Mystery and Magic of Its Body, Mind, and Soul, Vive la Revolution: A Stand-up History of the French Revolution, The French Revolution: From Enlightenment to Tyranny, Publicola: Observations on Paine's Rights of Man in a series of letters, The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction, The French Revolution: As Seen By Madame Tussaud, Witness Extraordinary, Memoirs of the Court of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, Complete, The Fatal Friendship: Marie Antoinette, Count Fersen and the Flight to Varennes, Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe: Henrietta Maria and Marie Antoinette, History of the Girondists; Or, Personal Memoirs of the Patriots of the French Revolution Volume 2, Time Travel with These 15 YA Historical Fiction Novels. 1 But he’s leaving us with a problem that we still have to confront. 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