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When the King Took Flight Paperback – November 17, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0674016422 ISBN-10: 0674016424

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When the King Took Flight + A Short History of the French Revolution, 5th Edition + The French Revolution and Human Rights: A Brief Documentary History (Bedford Cultural Editions Series)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (November 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674016424
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674016422
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #144,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Historian Tackett (UC-Irvine) skillfully shows how Louis XVI's infamous failed flight from his revolutionary captors in Paris in 1791 led to the eventual victory of radicalism and strengthened those calling for terror to "protect" the revolution from its enemies. Attempting to escape across the border to the Austrian Netherlands, the king planned to march a counterrevolutionary army back into France and reestablish Bourbon rule. As Tackett's dramatic account makes clear, Louis very nearly succeeded. He was famously halted in Varennes, a few miles from the border, and forcibly returned to Paris. Tackett describes the nation's reaction to the king's flight and return, not just in Paris but also in the provinces, where widespread fears of foreign invasion immediately followed news of Louis's escape. The whole nation felt betrayed by their "father," and Louis's public image was destroyed. The flight to Varennes, Tackett shows, strengthened republicanism and weakened those moderates favoring a constitutional monarchy. Louis's flight also created factionalism in the Assembly and was thus a harbinger of the Terror to come. Jacobins called for the king's immediate removal, but the moderates won the day in the short term, and Louis was reinstituted as a constitutional monarch. The Jacobins bided their time, and in September 1792, they voted to dethrone Louis and declare a republic; a few months later, they voted to execute the king. Tackett has penned a highly accessible popular history that should appeal to those wanting to learn more about one of the central events of the French Revolution. 24 illus., 3 maps.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

For scholars and general readers alike, the French Revolution remains a perennially favorite historical event. And one of the most intriguing as well as pivotal occurrences in the whole revolutionary period took place on the night of June 21, 1791, when "something quite extraordinary did happen" that "changed the history of France." In the little town of Varennes, in northeast France near the border of what is now Belgium, townspeople halted the progress of Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette and the rest of the royal family on their disguised flight from the country to escape the growing frightfulness of the Revolution. The entire planning process of their run for freedom is explained here with almost thriller-novel-like tension. The royal family's disguise was seen through by the time they arrived in Varennes, and their forced return to Paris proved traumatic. Tackett explores the ramifications of the event on the direction the Revolution subsequently took--namely, toward terror and republicanism. The book's approachable style, clear ideas, and excellent pacing guarantee general readership interest. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Nevertheless, it's a great read and highly recommended.
Chris
If I wanted a print copy, I would have purchased a print copy, and had I know the Kindle version had no images, I never would have bought it.
FifthRepublic
The text itself is fine, but this is a clear case of incompetent publishing spoiling an author's hard work.
John Van Roekel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By pnotley@hotmail.com on April 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Timothy Tackett is one of the more curious members of the current generation of French historians. He actually goes into archives and tries to figure out what people thought and did. Ordinarily this is what historians do as a matter of course, but under the reign of the Pope of Revisionism, Francois Furet, extensive archival research is replaced with, in the works of Furet, Mona Ozouf or Keith Baker, long analysis of a select and limited number of documents. Tackett by contrast, after starting with a monograph on Catholicism in particular region, has provided two invaluable monographs based on the fullest research yet to date. The first was the on the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, while the second was a thorough study of the National Assembly. In contrast to the Furet school's subtle insinuation that the Revolution was doomed at the outset because the Revolutionaries were dangerously utopians, Stalinist "avant la lettre," Tackett shows that the Revolutionaries were reasonable people in difficult circumstances. For the past few years he has been working on the origins of the Terror.
Somewhat to my disappointment, this is not that book. It is a sort of a preview, as once again we are told about the Flight to Varennes, as Louis XVI sought to flee a hostile Paris and move near the border where loyal troops. There he hoped to renounce everything that had happened to the revolution since several weeks BEFORE the fall of the Bastille, including he own public oaths of loyalty to the Revolution. However delays, along with several indiscretions by the King who was supposed to be in disguise, lead vigilant men to realize what was up and to capture him. The sources for this have all been reasonably available.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lehigh History Student VINE VOICE on December 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Flight of the King from Paris was an event that shook the core of the revolution. Tackett is a great French Revolution historian and he does not disappoint here. The book is easy to read and stays on topic making you think about the idea of causality in the revolution. Tackett takes a great deal of time to explain how the flight of the king changed the opinion of the people in France. He does so very well and makes for a very interesting book. For those studying the revolution this is a much read about a crucial moment that changed the course of the revolution shifting it over to violence that had not been seen prior the flight of the king.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By History Buff on March 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
Being overly interested in history I must admit to a hole in my understanding of the when, the where, and the who, of the French Revolution. Tackett has painted an immensely readable picture of "when the king took flight" and how that pivotal event shaped events to come. It's not quite Tom Clancy (Whew!) but then again it's not the dry recounting of history that the casual reader fears. I enjoyed it greatly.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Chris on November 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a cross between scholarly and pop history, leaning more toward the former. But it's so beautifully written and well organized, with a fascinating topic, that anyone with even slight interest in history would probably enjoy it.

Tackett opens the book with the amazing story of the abrupt end to the flight of King Louis XVI and his family. They were stopped in Varennes as they tried to pass through on their way out of the country during the third year of the French Revolution. Later Tackett details all that went into planning the escape, which is one of the most fascinating moments of the Revolution.

But the ramifications and aftermath of this attempted escape are even more important, and Tackett does a reasonable job explaining why. However, this is the one area where he falls a bit short. He argues that the king's flight and the aftermath led to the Terror, but he didn't spend enough time explaining why, which is surprising since that seemed to be a main part of his thesis. Nevertheless, it's a great read and highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Minchul on October 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is way better than most fictions on the French Revolution. I really really enjoyed reading this book. T. Tackett never let me down so far.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pilgrim on December 31, 2013
Format: Paperback
Timothy Tackett has written an illuminating and engaging book. It gave me a more thorough understanding of the French Revolution. If more authors wrote about history the way Tackett does, there wouldn't be so many people who say they find history boring.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DARKOBOY on October 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I choose these rating because when I visited Varenes in France I decided to find a book in wich I could find out what happend. I can only say, to visit a historical place and than to read about events that is the greatest thing. But the story must be well written and so I can only recommand these book to all interested in history full of intrigues and games and final in destiny of those peaople who in crucial moment shows only their weakest points and ruins theirs and other lives. Sorry but king Luis the XVI was such a weak man.But in history of mankind other follows and their bad decisions had bad folows in historicall events .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By danny d tackitt on June 6, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fascinating account of this dramatic point in history. Dr Tackett's writing makes for an easy, enjoyable and exciting read.

Will be looking for more of his works.
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