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The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0192853967 ISBN-10: 0192853961

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (December 6, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192853961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192853967
  • Product Dimensions: 2.7 x 1.7 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"[Doyle] writes on the French Revolution with more understanding, balance and clarity than any other historian, living or dead."--Tim Blanning, University of Cambridge


About the Author


William Doyle is Professor of History at the University of Bristol. His publications include The Oxford History of the French Revolution (1990), Origins of the French Revolution (1999), The Old European Order 1660-1800 (1992), and forthcoming from OUP, Old Regime France (2001).

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Customer Reviews

Great overview of the French Revolution.
KNN
There is a timeline of events at the end of the book, and the author also provides a good reference at the end of the book for further reading or research.
Igor Faynshteyn
The book ends with a Timeline, The Revolutionary Calendar, a list of Further Readings, and an Index.
F. Orion Pozo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By C. Middleton on March 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
For those interested in a brilliant overview of the French revolution, written concisely, combining narrative and competent analysis, including a comprehensive time line and a noteworthy bibliography, Doyle's A Very Short Introduction, is well worth your investment and time.

One of the more difficult writing tasks is to summarize an important and complicated historical event such as the French revolution, with any competence or erudition. Doyle's essay touches upon all aspects of the revolution's origins of development, including major personages, ideologies and significant events that contributed to its beginnings, processes and the revolution's present legacy in terms of its significant influence on society to present time.

In the first chapter, Echoes, Doyle proposes that one cannot look at France or visit the country without seeing some aspect of the revolution. The Eiffel Tower, for instance, was the centrepiece of the great exhibition that marked the first centenary in 1889. He continues,

"Nobody who lived in France, or visited it, could avoid these echoes, or echoes of Napoleon, who had marched under the tricolour, had tamed and harnessed the energies unleashed by the revolution, and whose nephew Napoleon III had ruled for 22 years before the Third Republic was established. (P.2)

Doyle tackles this project in six comprehensive chapters.
Read more ›
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By T.P. on July 8, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I majored in history in college, and already had learned a fair amount about the French Revolution, if mainly from it being mentioned peripherally in almost every course I took dealing with the period that came after the Revolution. So a lot of the names of the principal actors and the various groups like the sans-culottes and girondistes were already known to me beforehand.

Well, as some other reviewers have noted, the book gives the barest possible narrative outline of the Revolution itself, so if you're looking for a blow-by-blow account of what happened from, say 1789-1795, then go for Jeremy Popkin's book on the same topic.

Instead, this book offers an excellent overview of what the Revolutions more long-term effects were, and how the Revolution has been seen and imitated in the two centuries that have followed it. In the first chapter, it also discusses in brief the old regime that was replaced by the Revolution, detailing the weaknesses that led to its violent fall. Without this key introduction, the discussion following it would be acontextual and I found myself continually leafing back to it, particularly since I knew so little about the period before reading the book.

The bibliography provides a great guide to further readings.

In sum: the book is just what it says it is and couldn't be more concise or informative. Anyone who's heard the French Revolution being discussed, knows a little about European history already, and wants to know more about both is well-advised to try this book.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "rja5565" on August 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
I easily concur with the previous reviews: this is an outstanding introductory text on the French Revolution. Of particular interest beyond the mere historical facts surrounding the revolution is Doyle's presentation on how the event has been interpreted over the past two centuries. The study of this book can easily result in derivative studies of Furet, Schama, and others. Not only a bargain pricewise, but a great presentation of a critical historic event in an exceptionally interesting and accessible structure. I have to say that I immensely enjoyed it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ray TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
Lets face it: many people cite the French Revolution as the source of innumerable subsequent political ideological movements, but when pressed, still have difficulty describing the essential elements and personages involved in the event. One likely cause for this phenomena is the tempting urge to "ape" the attributions and thoughts of others without a personal understanding of the subject matter -- the French Revolution has long since passed into a popular and iconographic status -- but another is surely the bewildering array of people surrounding the event, the requirement for a precursory understanding of the "Ancient Régime" to set the stage for the Revolution's appearance, and the sheer number of divergent events occuring once the event got started.

In this sense, Doyle's book well serves the introductory reader well by helping develop a foundational understanding of the French Revolution through its clear verbiage, introduction to personages, and its narrative timeline approach. The book, too, sets the stage for additional derivative studies (perhaps by using the popular works by Furet, Schama, and others) while still being able to stand on its own as a primer to the subject. Of particular note is Doyle's presentation on how the event has been divergently interpreted by historians over the past two centuries. One can certainly read this book in an evening or two if all that is wished is a highlight of the topic, but taking a bit longer to carefully examine and think about its content can yield great educational benefits.

In summary, not only is the text a bargain, but it provides a great "very short introduction" to a critical historic event in an exceptionally interesting and accessible structure. I have to say that I immensely enjoyed it.
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