The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction, Paperback Book

The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction Paperback

Part of the Very Short Introductions series

3 out of 5 (2 ratings)

Description

Beginning with a discussion of familiar images of the French Revolution, garnered from Dickens, Baroness Orczy, and Tolstoy, as well as the legends of let them eat cake, and tricolours, Doyle leads the reader to the realization that we are still living with developments and consequences of the French Revolution such as decimalization, and the whole ideology of human rights.

Continuing with a brief survey of the old regime and how it collapsed, Doyle continues to ellucidate how the revolution happened: why did the revolutionaries quarrel with the king, the church and the rest of Europe, why this produced Terror, and finally how it accomplished rule by a general.

The revolution destroyed the age-old cultural, institutional and social structures in France and beyond.

This book looks at how the ancien regime became ancien as well as examining cases in which achievement failed to match ambition.

Doyle explores the legacy of the revolution in the form of rationality in public affairs and responsible government, and finishes his examination of the revolution with a discussion as to why it has been so controversial. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area.

These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly.

Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 152 pages, 11 halftones
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: European history
  • ISBN: 9780192853967

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Reviews

Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by
2.5

There is oddly little mention of blood, carnage, and chaos in this book. The author's narrative description of the events of the revolution focuses solely on the large-scale changes in political order from the late 1780s through the rise of Napoleon. While his treatment of themes in the second part of the book is helpful and even-handed, he largely ignores the Terror and the physical destruction wrought during the Revolution. As a very short introduction, one would be hard-pressed to cover every facet of such a complex series of events; social, cultural, and political changes; and the wide range of historiographical issues raised by the subject. Still, a few pages on the devastating physical and psychological elements of the Terror, at the least, would seem to be essential. Also essential would be further discussion of the major players. While Louis XVI is treated (just) adequately, very little is said about Robespierre, Marat, Sieyès, Brissot, and other key figures. One also finishes the book without a solid understanding of the differences between the Jacobins, Girondins, and other groups. Lacking these elements, this otherwise readable, engaging, and fair-minded book leaves too much unsaid.

Review by
3

Beginning with a discussion of familiar images of the French Revolution, garnered from Dickens, Baroness Orczy, and Tolstoy, as well as the legends of let them eat cake, and tricolours, Doyle leads the reader to the realization that we are still living with developments and consequences of the French Revolution such as decimalization, and the whole ideology of human rights. Continuing with a brief survey of the old regime and how it collapsed, Doyle continues to ellucidate how the revolution happened: why did the revolutionaries quarrel with the king, the church and the rest of Europe, why this produced Terror, and finally how it accomplished rule by a general. The revolution destroyed the age-old cultural, institutional and social structures in France and beyond. This book looks at how the ancien regime became ancien as well as examining cases in which achievement failed to match ambition. Doyle explores the legacy of the revolution in the form of rationality in public affairs and responsible government, and finishes his examination of the revolution with a discussion of why it has been so controversial.