The Revolutionary Career of Maximilien Robespierre
In changing forever the political landscape of the modern world, the French Revolution was driven by a new personality: the confirmed, self-aware revolutionary. Maximilien Robespierre originated the role, inspiring such devoted twentieth-century disciples as Lenin—who deemed Robespierre a Bolshevik avant la lettre.
Although he dominated the Committee for Public Safety…
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Jordan’s is probably the most elegantly written of the five studies and stands out for providing a particularly generous allocation of space to Robespierre’s voice, telling the story of his life as much as possible through his own words. At the same time, Jordan’s intellectual biography is quietly attentive to providing a sense of the complex political environment in which any French revolutionary statesman had to act.
From Colin's list on the life of Maximilien Robespierre.
Ever since his overthrow in July 1794 Robespierre has personified what the Anglophone world has seen as the excesses of the French Revolution and the “terror” and the deadly combination of ideological fervour and suspicion of opponents. The great merit of David Jordan’s meticulous and lucid biography is that he strips away the layers of loathing and adulation that have accumulated since Robespierre’s death to examine his evolving ideas in close detail. He calls this an “intellectual biography”, and there is little about the young man’s making or personality.
From Peter's list on understanding Robespierre.
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