The Old Regime and the French Revolution
The French Revolution was the “big bang” in which all the elements of modern politics and social conflicts were formed. Democracy, populism, liberalism, conservatism, socialism, nationalism, feminism, and abolitionism are all legacies of the upheaval that began in Paris in 1789.
A New World Begins puts readers in the thick of the debates and the turmoil that led to the overthrow of the French monarchy and the establishment of a new society. Going beyond the familiar figures like Mirabeau, Robespierre, and Danton, Jeremy Popkin’s riveting narrative includes the women who demanded equal rights and the enslaved blacks in France’s colonies who wrested their freedom from reluctant whites who had proclaimed themselves “free and equal in rights.” Even after more than two hundred years, the principles of the French Revolution continue to guide the search for a just society.
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We think you will like Paris in the Terror, The Coming of the Terror in the French Revolution, and French Revolution and the People if you like this list.
From Graeme's list on the best books to understand the terror of the French Revolution.
Loomis writes vividly, his book is replete with anecdote – some of it of rather dubious provenance, admittedly – but he evokes brilliantly the claustrophobic atmosphere of a time of overheated emotions, the propensity for wild hyperbole, inflammatory rhetoric, distorted manipulation of fact, wildly engrossed report, overblown journalism, the paranoia and toxic climate of suspicion, and the sheer horror of living in the French capital through one of the nastiest periods of any nation’s history.
From Marisa's list on the best books on the French Revolutionary Terror.
This study of the gradual process whereby the idealistic revolution of 1789 descended into terror is extraordinary for its depth of understanding. It’s a profoundly humane book, one which gives weight to the genuine idealism that drove the revolutionaries, yet does not hold back from showing how, under the pressure of war, fear, and internecine politics, these same revolutionaries adopted terrifying measures in support of their goals. Tackett has an unrivalled knowledge of his source material, and one of the great features of this book is the range of voices that emerge out of the documents: men and women of all social backgrounds, revolutionary activists and observers, supporters of the revolution, and horrified opponents. Together these voices invoke what it was like to live through a revolution, both the good and the bad.
From Peter's list on the best books to understand the French Revolution.
The elation of the revolutionary months of May-October 1789 was soon replaced by fervent debate about whose revolution this was to be. This was a debate which involved people at every level of society across the new nation. How could the divergent hopes of middle-class politicians and officials, insurgent Parisians, and the divergent mass of the peasantry be reconciled? Others rejected the Revolution altogether. After 1792 the debate became deadly as a European coalition made war on France, often with the collaboration of internal counter-revolutionaries. David Andress has created a vivid and expert narrative of an unfolding struggle over the survival and meaning of the Revolution, with some surprising conclusions.