Revolution and Terror in France 1789-1795
I don't normally log textbooks. I don't normally read textbooks cover to cover. This is not an endorsement. Nor is it a criticism.

This is an Amazon link.

T-shirt if I ever get skinny: "Ask Me About The Sans-Coulottes!"

Amazon Review, written hastily and tiredly with distracting smoke in my hair:

This book was required reading for my "Age of Revolution" class - a fact that you can take as an endorsement or as something quite the opposite.

Is it light? Oh no. Is it difficult and dry? Nope, not that either. This is one of the books that is going to make you work a little at first if you're not already burning to know how Necker planned to solve the ancient regime's tax crisis or desperate to get some clarification on the Girondins versus the Montagnards.

No, it's not an easy start, but hang in there, because with this much information it's worth stretching out of pablum-mode. I don't think there's a single superfluous sentence in this book. (Something my classmates apparently concurred with, as I watched them highlight entire pages at times.) It's a lot to digest, but while it isn't a rollicking good time it also isn't plodding or, for that matter, very long.

The transcripts of important documents are a nice touch, as is the chronology, and the glossary, although brief, is vital to a beginner to this topic such as myself.

At the end of the day, can you really go wrong with a book that not only repeats the shouts of "Austrian whore!" where appropriate and explains the origins of Lobster Thermidor, but that also quickly disabuses the reader of any Dickensian notions of peasants rising and nobles guillotined? Ah no, here's the book that taught me it was the aristocrats that revolted first and that more peasants went lopping into the basket than any bewigged silk-wearers. Zut alors!

09 March 2003 |

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