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Blood Sisters: The French Revolution in Women's Memory Hardcover – July, 1993

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (July 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465092632
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465092635
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,148,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Yalom, a faculty member of Stanford University's Institute for Research on Women and Gender who has written many books in the fields of French history and women's studies ( Rethinking the Family ), here uses her expertise to provide a thoughtful feminist analysis of the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror that followed. Quoting heavily from more than 75 memoirs, some written by women loyal to the throne, others by those who supported the Revolution, Yalom posits that, because the writers had in common both gender and a primary concern for personal relationships, they viewed the bloodshed differently than their male counterparts. She cites Rosalie Lamorliere's poignant chronicle of Marie Antoinette's last days, Charlotte Robespierre's memories of her brother Maximillian, who sent hundreds to the guillotine, and Alexandrine des Echerolles's account of the 1793 Lyons uprising as examples of the horror at the wanton loss of life that all these memoirists shared. A unique contribution to historical studies. Illustrations not seen by PW. History Book Club alternate.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This masterfully crafted book adds a new dimension to our understanding of the French Revolution: it demonstrates how French women, as distinct from French men, remembered that event. Yalom (French literature & history, Stanford) draws upon the memoirs of 80 women. While the majority were aristocrats, like Germaine de Stael and Madame Roland, a few were of the peasant and working class, and most were sensitive to areas in which gender affected their experiences and sensibilities. All, in some way, felt a duty to record the pain and tragedy they had witnessed. Yalom incorporates their reminiscences within the chronological narrative of the revolution and organizes her text geographically. Interspersed with insights from recent scholarship, the book includes a useful annotated bibliography. Scholars and students alike will benefit from this important volume.
- Marie Marmo Mullaney, Caldwell Coll.,
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 15, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had never read any book by Marilyn Yalom before, but after finishing "Blood Sisters" I'm eager to do so! For anyone interested in the French Revolution and what I call "personal history" - the history of individuals, as opposed to that of economic or political processes - this book will be a gem. Frenchwomen from all walks of life come alive through their memoirs and recollections of a chaotic, painful time, and, under Yalom's intelligent guidance, paint for us a picture of individual lives shattered by the upheavals of radical change.
The one thing which dissatisfied and somewhat irritated me was Yalom's insistence in drawing parallels between the violence and massacres aroused by the Revolution, and the Jewish Holocaust. I really don't see how this was necessary for the understanding and appreciating of the book and its message. I do not wish to call into question the horrors of the Holocaust, which is one of the great tragedies of our times, and undoubtedly one of the worst examples of what man is capable of - but there have been many other instances of barbarity and cruelty, notably in the context of other Revolutions before and since that of France, which would make better parallels. I cannot help but thinking (and I'm not saying this disrespectfully) that in this particular aspect Yalom's Jewishness has gotten the better of her discernment as a scholar. A minor bother in an otherwise rich and engaging book.
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