Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Ending the French Revolution: Violence, Justice, and Repression from the Terror to Napoleon Paperback – November 29, 2007
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
I have read a fair amount about the French revolution as well as a fine biography of Robespierre. I have also read biographical works on Napoleon and the Napoleonic wars. There was a gap in my knowledge, however: the years in between.
I was searching for an account of the transition between the dwindling Revolution and Napoleon’s ascent. I wanted to know more about the nature of the Consulat and Directoire and how they worked. Howard Brown’s book appeared to be the answer.
To my regret I quickly realized that it wasn’t. Not that it lacks the relevant material; its pages are crammed with fact upon fact. But this is a book written for that handful of scholarly researchers (and I assume there are a number out there) who remain indifferent to the quality of the prose. They may well be unaware of what good prose is like. Hungry only for historical detail, the caliber of language or narrative is of no interest to them.
Few lay readers, I suspect, will be willing to plough through this dense and ponderous work with its jargon plagued sentences and meandering semi-coherent paragraphs. The book itself is 358 pages long; the preface, appendices, notes, bibliography and index constitute another 114 pages.
Whatever happened to those wonderful historians who combined deep learning with a sweeping elegance of language? One relished their work because reading it induced not just knowledge but pleasure as well . They are a breed in decline, it sadly seems.
To make head-and-tail of this book, it may admittedly be helpful to already be well-versed in French History. The book also has much dark subject-matter. However, the thesis of the book has some relevance for issues affecting global society today. For instance, the French Revolution was highly inspired by the literature and political thought of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. With the prospects of direct democracy and a unicameral legislature on the horizon, many former French subjects gladly rallied to the call for 'Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.' However, the message of the book was that a share divide between state and society in France resulted in the final analysis, not a more unitary political culture. In the author's words, 'Hobbes triumphed over Rousseau.' Nowadays, it helpful for citizens of any country to be familiar with the law when a 'Weberian legal-rational society' is in the making. However, people have to ask themselves whether or not the conditions of everyone will improve. If that does not happen, will an oppressive political monopoly consolidate its control over the whole society? This book helps remind the reader that promises often do not match up with results. Recommended reading.