21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Five shining stars for Ms Scurr's first book,
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This review is from: Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution (Paperback)
I was surprised to read in the very first review for the book "Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution" (on Amazon's webpage for that particular book), under the banner of "No longer the Incorruptible", a scathing attack on the character of Maximilien de Robespierre. The author of that review went beyond thrashing Robespierre's character into, what I believe it is, an effort to belittle Robespierre's crucial contributions to the French Revolution and the enduring and important message that that event (the French Revolution) evokes on all the persons that read about it.
First of all, I remember that Ms Scurr took the pain to stress that the book was not meant to absolve nor condemn Robespierre. After finishing the book, I can attest that she was quite successful at being even handed and fair. The author of that review, although entitled to his opinion, left the impression (at least on me)that Robespierre, somehow, while embodying all that is evil and, while being utterly devoid of any leadership skills, rose to be the "top man" at the helm of the French Revolution. The story depicted in the book is quite different from what was written, and omitted, in that review.
Now, going into the merits of the book, I have to say that it is never dull, it is concise, clear, learned, even enthralling. Judging by this, Ms Scurr's first literary effort, I can foresee the birth of a star. Ruth Scurr is a product of both Oxford and Cambridge. Buying and reading this book is money well invested.