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Farewell, Revolution: Disputed Legacies, France, 1789/1989 1st Edition

2.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0801427183
ISBN-10: 0801427185
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Review

"An excellent two-volume study, along with The Historians' Feud, of France's bicentennial commemoration of its most famous revolution. . . . A remarkable, comprehensive account."―International Labor and Working-Class History

From the Back Cover

The interpretation of the French Revolution has long been the most contentious issue in French history. How the Revolution should be remembered has been the focus of debates concerned as much with France's future as with its past. Kaplan both reviews these debates and reconstructs - in sometimes hilarious detail - events leading up to the official commemoration. Bringing to bear the skills of the archival historian and the ethnographer, he masterfully explains how a particular political culture attempts to come to terms with its past. As he sketches a provocative picture of politics in France today, he has much to say about more general relationships between memory and collective identity, history and politics. Farewell, Revolution is based on massive research, including interviews with leading players on the French cultural and political scene. Kaplan vividly describes the evolution not only of the bicentennial celebration in Paris but also of regional festivities and commemorative activities among the French Communists.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (May 24, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801427185
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801427183
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.6 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,017,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Kaplan's "Farewell, Revolution" is an utterly petulant work. It is, of course, an attempt to defend the "Jacobino-Marxist" position on the French Revolution through the deconstruction of two great historians (he does not neglect attacking their personal and professional lives),Pierre Chaunu and Francois Furet, who both have traced the wages of extreme-left, revolutionary ideology to the genocide committed by both the French Terror and twentieth century Marxists.
He insists on the error in Furet's hieraerchy of values, namely, that the history of ideas and their effects on events outweighs the sociological background of these events. He also suggests that Furet's Critical Dictionary is not critical or "open" at all, and he contradicts himself by applying right-wing ideological precepts to his massive tome centering on French Revolutionary historiography.
But his argument doesn't fly. It doesn't fly for Furet's insistence on the primacy of ideas and the actions which resulted, is absolutely correct. It is substantive when a historian can trace an idea emanating to either its logical end or what effect that (political-social-economic) idea had on the general actions of governments and/or mobs.
Furet is welcomed and such a relief after a century of Marxist dogma and their much vaunted ability to look at history "transparently." Kaplan serves the Reds well, but his deconstuctive diatribe piqued my interest of Chaunu and Furet and didn't turn me against them.
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