Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Book Recommendation

Today I am recommending Simon Schama's engrossing and insightful narrative of the French Revolution, Citizens. This book will take you through the events leading up to revolution and then, brilliantly, through the revolution itself until its demise on 9 Thermidore. What I really appreciated about this book was how Mr. Schama set the historical record straight, particularly as concerns many myths around Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette perpetrated by historians sympathetic to the revolution who were willing to look the other way and parrot Jacobin propaganda. You really get the great sense of how all strata of French society was corrupted by the ideas of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and how that very fact led to and emboldened much of the horrific violence that set the French Revolution apart from the American Revolution which occurred thirteen years prior. Despite its length, 875 pages, this book reads very quickly and is very, very interesting. Definitely the way history should be written.


Apollo said...

Looks very interesting. Ive always wanted to knwo why the frnch revolutuion failed and what ideas fueld it.

Alexander said...

This is definitely the book for you then. This book doesn't dwell on pointless minutia, it focuses on the big pictures, the big themes and personalities of the revolution.