By Michel Biard, Marisa Linton,

Book cover of Terror: The French Revolution and Its Demons

Book description

At the heart of how history sees the French Revolution lies the enigma of the Terror. How did this archetypal revolution, founded on the principles of liberty and equality and the promotion of human rights, arrive at circumstances where it carried out the violent and terrible repression of its opponents?…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked Terror as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Sometimes a book captures a scholarly moment; this one does.

It crystallizes a swirl of arguments about whether a true system of terror was created and imposed by the Revolutionary government by cutting through contemporary scapegoating and modern ideological conflict to lay the historical record bare.

Terror is a powerful book that I can both appreciate and argue with since I think it overemphasizes the experience of Paris at the expense of the lived reality of the provinces.

While I don’t always agree with its conclusions, Terror brings fresh insight to politics in 1793-94 and how the legacy of Revolutionary…

Few studies of the French Revolution by French historians have been made available in English. This is a loss for non-French readers, for it is France’s own revolution after all. No one knows the subject in such formidable depth as do their best historians, and Michel Biard is indubitably one of the very best of his generation. While I myself collaborated in the writing of this book, my principal reason for recommending it here is that it makes Michel Biard’s work more widely available. This up-to-date book appeared in French in 2020, under the title, Terreur! La Révolution française face…

From Marisa's list on French Revolutionary terror.

By late 1793, a revolution that had begun in 1789 with a humanitarian, reforming zeal seemed to have developed into a nightmare of outrageous affronts to individual liberties and the safety of the person. This has always been the most important puzzle of the French Revolution. Why was there a “terror” in 1793-94? Was it military invasion and counter-revolution that made the Revolution violent, or was the violence a disproportionate response to the threat?

Two of the leading historians of the Revolution dissect this most contentious, confronting period with lucidity, conceptual skill, and cutting-edge knowledge. The result is a wise…

From Peter's list on understanding Robespierre.

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