• List Price: $32.00
  • Save: $10.16 (32%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 11 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Citizens: A Chronicle of ... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: No marks, clean pages. Binding is good. Some wear to edges and corners.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution Paperback – March 17, 1990

106 customer reviews

See all 23 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
$11.62 $0.33
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

Great Maps (Dk Smithsonian) by DK
Featured History Books
Browse books on the Civil War, World War I, and more. Learn more | See related books
$21.84 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 11 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution + The Oxford History of the French Revolution + The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction
Price for all three: $54.19

Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In what PW called a "sprawling, provocative, sometimes infuriating chronicle that stands much conventional wisdom on its head," Schama argues that the Revolution did not produce a "patriotic culture of citizenship" but was preceded by one.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-- This well-written, thoroughly documented book should be on every high-school library shelf. It explains the self-destructive, bloody orgy that occurred in France but not in England or Prussia, countries in similar states of poverty and with similarly deprived, disenfranchised populaces. Schama theorizes that the cause of France's revolution lies in the self-deception of the ruling intelligentsia, who believed that they could make a Utopian France by allowing controlled violence, murder, and the destruction of property in the name of liberty, and all to exist simultaneously with good government. Schama presents Talleyrand, Lafayette, and others with more understanding than they are given in most histories, setting them amidst a web of violence of their own making. This book speaks to today's world, as nations strive to move from despotism to democracy. A more modern view of these same problems is found in Z. Brzezinski's The Grand Failure (Scribners , 1989) .
-Barbara Batty, Port Arthur I.S.D., TX
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 976 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (March 17, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679726101
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679726104
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Simon Schama is a professor of art history and history at Columbia University, and is the author of numerous award-winning books; his most recent history, Rough Crossings, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction. He is a cultural essayist for the New Yorker and has written and presented more than thirty documentaries for the BBC, PBS, and the History Channel, including The Power of Art, which won the 2007 International Emmy for Best Arts Programming.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

170 of 177 people found the following review helpful By M on November 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
This monumental book attempts to chronicle the French Revolution from its inception to the end of the Reign of Terror in 1794, using a slightly different style than most conventional histories. In the preface, Schama notes that studies of personalities have largely been replaced by studies of grain supplies, indicating a pattern to seek explanations for historical events and trends in obscure economic factors, rather than in the personalities of the leading figures involved. This Schama is determined to fight against, and he resurrects the nineteenth-century chronicle, with its emphasis on people, high and low. The first section is largely concerned with the Old Régime, which the author reveals a dynamic and rapidly changing society, where the pace of change was indeed too fast instead of too slow, as the popular perception goes. He meticulously shows the rise of revolutionary and nationalist culture, as well as of a new economic order, and the incapacity of Louis XVI and his governments to deal with the new realities. The accounts of the demise of the Old Regime and the beginnings of Revolution are extremely detailed, but also move at a fast pace, with numerous stories of the participants interspersed in the narrative. Schama's use of primary sources is exhaustive, and sometimes even tends to be overwhelming, but the overall effect is an impressive display of historical writing at its finest. But it is in relating the power struggles within the National Assembly and the Convention that Schama truly shines. We hear the strident rhetoric of the Brissotins and later the Jacobins, calling for the bloody consummation of the Revolution. We are at the side of the major players as they are elbowed aside, which often means assassination or execution.Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
69 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Robert E. Murena Jr. on February 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
Citizens is a very well written history of the French Revolution covering a massive amount of events, details and personalities with a good deal of background to boot. I am no expert on the subject but I have read a few books on the French Revolution including "The Oxford history of the French Revolution" and "Twelve who Ruled". I found that Citizens at succeeded where the other two failed: it managed to remain interesting. This is of course is because of Simon Schama writing style. The history of the French revolutionary period of course really is fascinating but the problem with it is unless you are scholar of French history you will need to have a decent amount of background to put the events of 1789-95 in perspective. That being said it can also be said that if you are going to read a single book on the subject Citizens provides the background and explanation required to get a true sense of what happened during the revolutionary period.

It is understandable that readers find that there is too much anecdote and detail in this book however I argue that it is all for a purpose. Simon Schama is one of those writers that doesn't simply want to provide readers with the chronology but he wants to enrich the events with information and details that not only shed light on what happened but provide a volume of supplemental knowledge that in pieces may do little but together solidify the reader's understanding of the subject. This is vastly important to getting a grasp on this book. I believe Schama uses anecdotes not as flourishes but as mnemonic devices for the readers understanding as well.

It is not meant to be a quick read. Citizens is very deliberate. Schama's verbose style is also this works beauty.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
295 of 348 people found the following review helpful By pnotley@hotmail.com on May 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a popular work of history, and it is easy to see why. 1) Schama has a wonderful eye for anecdote, starting with the tale of the plaster elephant at the site of the Bastille, to how Talleyrand could not conduct a proper mass to save his life, to how Lafayette tried to escape from the Austrians and all too typically failed. 2) The book is lavishly illustrated with many compelling contemporary images. Not only do we see the passion for science in chandeliers resembling Montgolfier balloons, but we see the patriotic enthusiasm in revolutionary coffee cups and the revolutionary calendar. We are also blessed with Schama's skill as an art historian. Everyone recognizes David's The Oath of the Horatii, but how many now the bloodthirsty conclusion to the tale? Schama does, and this helps his point about the sanguinary and murderous side with the obsession with classical virtue. 3) Schama is a very effective writer, and few will be able to read his accounts of the September Massacres or the suppression of the Vendee or the execution of the Malesherbes family during the terror without a shudder of revulsion. Moreover he is capable of discussing a wide variety of topics, whether it is the nature of the fiscal crisis of the Bourbon monarchy or the cultural construction of the citizen. 4) In contrast to Richard Pipes' The Russian Revolution, Schama is able to consult the most recent literature to support his attack on the French revolution. He cites Chaussinand-Nogaret on the progressive, entrepreneurial and capitalist nature of the aristocracy. He builds on Darnton to emphasize the pornographic libels against Marie Antoinette.Read more ›
15 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution
This item: Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution
Price: $21.84
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: the jacobins brinton