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Becoming a Revolutionary Hardcover – April 1, 1996


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (April 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691043841
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691043845
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,751,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Winner of the 1997 Leo Gershoy Award

From the Publisher

Winner of the Leo Gershoy Prize from the American Historical Association, 1998, for the best book in Early Modern European History. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "a_w_hafner@hotmail.com" on March 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Almost no event in history has been as controversial as the French Revolution. The debate between Marxist and Revisionist theory has been waged since Cobban first challenged Lefebvre's ideas. In reaction to the many Revisionist theories that have been developed over the past decades (Doyle, Taylor, Furet), Timothy Tackett's book represents a critical look at the differences that exist within the Revisionist school, in particular examining exactly who the deputies of Estates-General in 1789 were and what motives they held. The book relates the careers of the deputies (from all orders) prior to the Revolution, how each deputy perceived the events of 1789, and how they dealt with their subsequent transformation into national legislators by 1790. As an undergraduate student writing a thesis on the question of the aristocracy's role in the origins of the Revolution, this books offers a wealth of valuable information concerning the deputies who came to form the Estates-General. Just about every member, at least those we have accounts of, is represented within the book; the book contains an extensive amount of primary source material. I think overall this is a wonderful book, and I was pleased with the treatment of the aristocracy in general.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By pnotley@hotmail.com on July 31, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This excellent book has many virtues. In contrast to such recent sparsely annotated works by Sutherland, Schama, Doyle and Rude, Tackett has examined the diaries and correspondence of 129 members of the National Assembly in what is undoubtedly the most thorough examination of that body. The book is in three parts, the first of which discusses the background deputies. Interestingly, Tackett notes sharp differences between nobles and bourgeois, with the former clearly more wealthy, with an overwhelmingly military backgroun, and less secondary education than the third estate. More important are the next two chapters which should dispel once and for all the Tocquevillian idea that the third estate deputies were inexperienced legilators with no real knowledge of politics and besotted with abstract philosophe systems. For a start, intellectuals did rather badly in the elections, with Condorcet defeated and Abbe Sieyes coming in twentieth out of twenty deputies. Perhaps 4% of third estate deputies were academicians of some sort. Many deputies had published works of some sort, but sober legal treatistes and mildly anti-clerical stories were more typical than any kind of philosophe intransigence. Likewise as a result of muncipal participation and political mobilization, "the deputies of the third esate were substantially more experienced in day to day governmental activities that many of the military aristocrats who predominated in the Noble Estate."
Contrary to more teleological interpretations, Tackett noted that most deputies sincerely supported the king and were not particularly democratic. As for the actual work of the assembly, Tackett portrays it as a moderate body consistently pushed forward by the pressure of events.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Chris on November 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
Yes, this is a scholarly work on the French Revolution, but don't let that discourage you. Tackett is really a fantastic writer as well as historian, and this book is quite good.

Tackett studies the deputies who comprised the National Assembly in 1789 and early 1790. He looks into claims of past historian that these men were politically green and Enlightenment-driven ideologues, and he picks apart both of those assertions. He uses exhaustive research to show that many of the deputies had a good amount of experience in local government as mayors and municipal officials, and even many of the clergy deputies were involved in church administration. He also finds very little evidence of the deputies being driven by Rousseau and other Enlightenment philosophes.

The first couple of chapters of the book are fairly slow because Tackett uses a great deal of statistics from his research to illustrate his points. It makes for somewhat slow reading because it's so detailed, but the info is valuable, so it's worth sticking around. Then about a third of the way through, it really picks up. His description of August 4 and the king's early 1790 speech were especially fantastic.

Certainly someone looking for an introduction on the French Revolution would be better off with Popkin's short history, or even Lefebvre's classic "Coming of the French Revolution." But if you have the background, this book is worth your time, and you don't need to be a doctoral student to get through it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Minchul on October 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book deserves all the applause it got so far. It is based on a very vast research of firsthand sources, and it also makes great arguments. French Revolution's historiography is by far well-transmitted thanks to decent scholars who don't try to cover up their laziness with fancy words.
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