100 books like When the King Took Flight

By Timothy Tackett,

Here are 100 books that When the King Took Flight fans have personally recommended if you like When the King Took Flight. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Napoleon: The Path to Power 1769 - 1799

Peter McPhee Author Of Liberty or Death: The French Revolution

From my list on understanding the French Revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent much of my adult life studying the French Revolution with students who, like me, are engrossed by the drama, successes and tragedies of the Revolution, and the scale of the attempts to arrest or reverse it. Why and how did an apparently stable regime collapse in 1789? Why did it prove to be so difficult to stabilize a new order? How could claims to “liberty” and “equality” be balanced? And why was there a period of “terror” in 1793-94? When the Revolution was finally over, how had France and other parts of the world been changed? The answers to those questions remain open and continue to fascinate. 

Peter's book list on understanding the French Revolution

Peter McPhee Why did Peter love this book?

Napoleon Bonaparte brought a decade of revolutionary upheaval to an end when he seized power with the army in November 1799, but he had been made a general by the Revolution and was one of its most celebrated soldiers. The Revolution opened up opportunities for this Corsican “outsider” which would have been impossible before the Revolution: he grabbed them. Dwyer’s prize-winning account of Napoleon’s checkered rise to power at the age of thirty is also a gripping narrative of the unpredictability and drama of the revolutionary decade. It reveals the making of a man whose brilliance, military genius, and vision was qualified by his cynicism, cruelty, and vanity. 

By Philip Dwyer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Napoleon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Napoleon Bonaparte's rise to power was neither inevitable nor smooth; it was full of mistakes, wrong turns and pitfalls. During his formative years his identity was constantly shifting, his character ambiguous and his intentions often ill-defined. He was, however, highly ambitious, and it was this ruthless drive that advanced his career. This book examines the extraordinary evolution of Napoleon's character and the means by which at the age of thirty he became head of the most powerful country in Europe and skilfully fashioned the image of himself that laid the foundation of the legend that endures to this day.


Book cover of Choosing Terror: Virtue, Friendship, and Authenticity in the French Revolution

Peter McPhee Author Of Liberty or Death: The French Revolution

From my list on understanding the French Revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent much of my adult life studying the French Revolution with students who, like me, are engrossed by the drama, successes and tragedies of the Revolution, and the scale of the attempts to arrest or reverse it. Why and how did an apparently stable regime collapse in 1789? Why did it prove to be so difficult to stabilize a new order? How could claims to “liberty” and “equality” be balanced? And why was there a period of “terror” in 1793-94? When the Revolution was finally over, how had France and other parts of the world been changed? The answers to those questions remain open and continue to fascinate. 

Peter's book list on understanding the French Revolution

Peter McPhee Why did Peter love this book?

After 1792 French revolutionaries had to confront European armies and internal counter-revolution in a battle for the survival of the Revolution – and their own lives. The Jacobins saved the Revolution, but an enormous cost in human life. Marisa Linton takes us inside the personal dimensions of this deadly struggle, examining how personal friendships and alliances among revolutionary leaders disintegrated into recrimination and killings. By the Year II (1793-94) the policies of “terror” unleashed at the armed enemies of the Revolution had been extended to other revolutionaries believed to lack the authenticity necessary to the practice of republican “virtue”. Linton unravels the deadly logic of suspicion at a time of violence and acute fear which underpinned this “politicians’ terror”.  

By Marisa Linton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Choosing Terror as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Choosing Terror: Virtue, Friendship and Authenticity in the French Revolution examines the leaders of the French Revolution - Robespierre and his fellow Jacobins - and particularly the gradual process whereby many of them came to 'choose terror'. These men led the Jacobin Club between 1789 and 1794, and were attempting to establish new democratic politics in France. Exploring revolutionary politics through the eyes of these leaders, and against a political
backdrop of a series of traumatic events, wars, and betrayals, Marisa Linton portrays the Jacobins as complex human beings who were influenced by emotions and personal loyalties, as well as…


Book cover of The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction

Peter McPhee Author Of Liberty or Death: The French Revolution

From my list on understanding the French Revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent much of my adult life studying the French Revolution with students who, like me, are engrossed by the drama, successes and tragedies of the Revolution, and the scale of the attempts to arrest or reverse it. Why and how did an apparently stable regime collapse in 1789? Why did it prove to be so difficult to stabilize a new order? How could claims to “liberty” and “equality” be balanced? And why was there a period of “terror” in 1793-94? When the Revolution was finally over, how had France and other parts of the world been changed? The answers to those questions remain open and continue to fascinate. 

Peter's book list on understanding the French Revolution

Peter McPhee Why did Peter love this book?

Ever since 1789 people have asked how to explain such a massive upheaval in an apparently stable kingdom. Why did the Revolution follow its particular course after 1789? Why did it result in a civil war and international warfare? When was it “over”? And how “revolutionary” was the Revolution? Was France fundamentally changed as a result of it? What were the international repercussions?

An eminent historian of the eighteenth century here manages to condense decades of research and writing into a pocket-sized paperback. It is a superb, lucid, and up-to-date summary of the origins, course, and outcomes of the Revolution and of the ongoing debates about its meaning and significance, some of which involve Doyle’s own interpretations. 

By William Doyle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The French Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The French Revolution is a time of history made familiar from Dickens, Baroness Orczy, and Tolstoy, as well as the legends of let them eat cake, and tricolours. Beginning in 1789, this period of extreme political and social unrest saw the end of the French monarchy, the death of an extraordinary number of people beneath the guillotine's blade during the Terror, and the rise of Napoleon, as well as far reaching consequences still with us today, such as the
enduring ideology of human rights, and decimalization.

In this Very Short Introduction, William Doyle introduces the French old regime and considers…


Book cover of French Revolution and the People

Peter McPhee Author Of Liberty or Death: The French Revolution

From my list on understanding the French Revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent much of my adult life studying the French Revolution with students who, like me, are engrossed by the drama, successes and tragedies of the Revolution, and the scale of the attempts to arrest or reverse it. Why and how did an apparently stable regime collapse in 1789? Why did it prove to be so difficult to stabilize a new order? How could claims to “liberty” and “equality” be balanced? And why was there a period of “terror” in 1793-94? When the Revolution was finally over, how had France and other parts of the world been changed? The answers to those questions remain open and continue to fascinate. 

Peter's book list on understanding the French Revolution

Peter McPhee Why did Peter love this book?

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.

By David Andress,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked French Revolution and the People as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The French Revolution of 1789 was the central event of modern history. Although the Revolution started with the resistance of a minority to absolutist government, it soon spread to involve the whole nation, including the men and women who made up by far the largest part of it - the peasantry, as well as townspeople and craftsmen, the poor and those living on the margins of society. The French Revolution and the People is a portrait of the common people of France, in the towns and in the countryside; in Paris and Lyon; in the Vendee, Brittany, Provence. Popular grievances…


Book cover of The Oxford History of the French Revolution

Jeremy Black Author Of France: A Short History

From my list on the history of France.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian with wide-ranging interests and publications, including, in European history, histories of Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Mediterranean, eighteenth-century Europe, Europe 1550-1800, Europe since 1945, and European warfare.

Jeremy's book list on the history of France

Jeremy Black Why did Jeremy love this book?

Bill Doyle is the leading British interpreter of the French Revolution and this is a subtle account of its causes and course. Very good on the need to look for specific political causes rather than any supposedly inevitable pattern of socio-economic conflict.

By William Doyle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Oxford History of the French Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since its first publication to mark the bicentenary of the French Revolution in 1989, this Oxford History has established itself as the Revolution's most authoritative and comprehensive one-volume history in English, and has recently been translated into Chinese. Running from the accession of Louis XVI in 1774, it traces the history of France through revolution, terror, and counter-revolution to the final triumph of Napoleon in 1802. It also analyses the impact of
events in France upon the rest of Europe and the world beyond. The study shows how a movement which began with optimism and general enthusiasm soon became a…


Book cover of The Life of Louis XVI

Munro Price Author Of Napoleon: The End of Glory

From my list on the French Revolution and Napoleon.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian who has been researching and writing on the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars for thirty-five years now. Since the age of ten I have been fascinated by these years, partly through childhood holidays in France, but also because of their sheer drama. British history in the same period has nothing to compare with the storming of the Bastille or Napoleon’s meteoric career. Specializing in this turbulent era has made me particularly interested in how regimes fall, and whether under different circumstances they could have survived.

Munro's book list on the French Revolution and Napoleon

Munro Price Why did Munro love this book?

The great strength of this book is that as well as offering a major reinterpretation of Louis, XVI, it is also a pleasure to read. John Hardman has pioneered the reappraisal of Louis that has been underway over the last twenty years. The unfortunate king has traditionally been portrayed as either reactionary or incompetent (or both). In place of this caricature, Hardman convincingly presents the monarch as a man of high intelligence who was prepared to make many more compromises with the Revolution than historians have allowed. In his view, Louis’ real weakness was not intellectual but psychological: crises of depression that paralysed him at crucial moments after 1789.

By John Hardman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Life of Louis XVI as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A thought-provoking, authoritative biography of one of history's most maligned rulers: France's Louis XVI

"The definitive contribution to our understanding of Louis XVI as a man and a monarch."-P.M. Jones, English Historical Review

"Monumental. . . . Scholars probing the mysteries of the late Old Regime and French Revolution will be working in its shadow for many years to come."-Thomas E. Kaiser, Journal of Modern History

Louis XVI of France, who was guillotined in 1793 during the Revolution and Reign of Terror, is commonly portrayed in fiction and film either as a weak and stupid despot in thrall to his…


Book cover of A Place of Greater Safety

John Xiao Zhang Author Of Sailing Across the Red Storm

From my list on revolutionary background that stir your heart.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired lecturer at Southampton University, but used to live in China for many years. I experienced the horrible Chinese Cultural Revolution between the 1960s and 1970s, which was similar to Stalin’s Great Purges. I was put in jail and suffered cruel torture. So personally, I can more understand how, in all revolutionary movement, people were struggling with the threat of death and hopelessness; how they were torn between the new value of the revolution and the damage to the existing moral system; and how the strength of humanity could shine in the bloody darkness of terror.

John's book list on revolutionary background that stir your heart

John Xiao Zhang Why did John love this book?

A compelling historical fiction with the background of the French Revolution. The book describes the three main figures from the outside province to Paris who made the agitated and bloody history. Camille was related to the capture of Bastille; Danton made the execution of Louis XVI and Robespierre—the Terror. They enjoyed the happiness of power, but also paid a heavy price for it. We can see how humanity was lost in the turbulent revolutionary storm. 

By Hilary Mantel,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Place of Greater Safety as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This novel follows the lives of three major figures in the French Revolution - Robespierre, Danton and Desmoulins - from their childhoods in Northern France through to the last terrifying moments of their execution. The book juxataposes private occasions with public events.


Book cover of The Private Life of Marie Antoinette

Will Bashor Author Of Marie Antoinette's Darkest Days: Prisoner No. 280 in the Conciergerie

From my list on Marie Antoinette from a fan and a historian.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although the books on my list all delve into the history of Queen Marie Antoinette and her family, they also provide an understanding of the chaotic period leading up to the French Revolution. I’ve always been fascinated by the historical drama, controversy, and tragedy of her personal life, but the readings on my list also explore the social changes in manners, clothing styles, and class distinctions that accompanied the political unrest.

Will's book list on Marie Antoinette from a fan and a historian

Will Bashor Why did Will love this book?

I read the French edition of this book, and I found it most helpful as a reference for my own writing because Campan was close to Marie Antoinette as her servant and confidant. Moreover, Campan did not sugarcoat the queen’s life but rather offered an unbiased view of the queen's character.

Having read many current biographies of Marie Antoinette, I was thrilled to find Madam Campan’s because it was a unique and firsthand account of Marie Antoinette’s life at the court of Versailles. More importantly, Campan revealed why Marie Antoinette often behaved the way she did and debunked some of the scandals—some of which are still espoused today. In my opinion, Campan’s writing conveys sincerity and authenticity. On the other hand, some critics feel she is a bit biased.

By Jeanne Louise Henriette Campan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Private Life of Marie Antoinette as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In one of the earliest memoirs of the young Queen of France, Jeanne Louise Henriette Campan - Marie Antoinette's First Lady-in-Waiting and one of her closest and most faithful attendants - paints a dramatic portrait of the queen's personal and political relationship with King Louis XVI of France. First published in two volumes in 1823, this memoir is presented against the backdrop of the French court as it weakened in the madness of an impending revolution. In intricate detail, Campan passionately defends Marie Antoinette's pride and honour in the face of hateful propaganda against her - propaganda that has continued…


Book cover of Marie Antoinette: The Journey

Will Bashor Author Of Marie Antoinette's Darkest Days: Prisoner No. 280 in the Conciergerie

From my list on Marie Antoinette from a fan and a historian.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although the books on my list all delve into the history of Queen Marie Antoinette and her family, they also provide an understanding of the chaotic period leading up to the French Revolution. I’ve always been fascinated by the historical drama, controversy, and tragedy of her personal life, but the readings on my list also explore the social changes in manners, clothing styles, and class distinctions that accompanied the political unrest.

Will's book list on Marie Antoinette from a fan and a historian

Will Bashor Why did Will love this book?

As a Francophone myself, I found that Fraser's biography offered a captivating study of the French monarchy. And through nuanced storytelling, it challenged conventional perceptions of Marie Antoinette. By fostering empathy for her incredible plight amid French society’s expectations, the book ultimately reshaped her historical portrayal. 

Fraser's portrayal of the characters' emotional states added depth to the Marie Antoinette’s story, making it vivid in my imagination. She also offered a sympathetic view of the queen, highlighting her tragic end. Balanced in her views, the author also challenged my misconceptions, revealing the queen’s humanity and providing insightful, little-known details of her short life.

By Antonia Fraser,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Marie Antoinette as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The national bestseller from the acclaimed author of The Wives of Henry VIII.  France’s beleaguered queen, Marie Antoinette, wrongly accused of uttering the infamous “Let them eat cake,” was the subject of ridicule and curiosity even before her death; she has since been the object of debate and speculation and the fascination so often accorded tragic figures in history. Married in mere girlhood, this essentially lighthearted, privileged, but otherwise unremarkable child was thrust into an unparalleled time and place, and was commanded by circumstance to play a significant role in history. Antonia Fraser’s lavish and engaging portrait of Marie Antoinette,…


Book cover of Memoirs from Beyond the Tomb

Philip Mansel Author Of King of the World: The Life of Louis XIV

From my list on French Court.

Why am I passionate about this?

The French court has fascinated me since boyhood visits to Blois and Versailles. The appeal of its unusually dramatic history is heightened by the prominence of women, by the number and brilliance of courtiers’ letters and memoirs, and by its stupendous cultural patronage: Even after writing seven books on the French court, from Louis XIV to Louis XVIII, I remain enthralled by Versailles, Fontainebleau, and Paris where, as the new science of court studies expands, there is always more to see and learn. The power and popularity of the French presidency today confirm the importance of the French monarchy, to which it owes so much, including its physical setting, the Elysée Palace.

Philip's book list on French Court

Philip Mansel Why did Philip love this book?

In his memoirs Chateaubriand combined private life and public events, the autobiography of a Romantic with the history of the French revolution. A royalist writer, ambassador, and minister, he believed that ‘legitimate, constitutional monarchy’ was the ‘gentlest and surest path to complete freedom’. His memoirs give brilliant descriptions of the Bourbons, of whom he often despaired, including the ‘infernal vision’ of Talleyrand and Fouché entering Louis XVIII’s study, ‘vice leaning on the arm of crime’; and the bedsheets which royalist ladies converted into white Bourbon flags, to salute the entry of the allies into Paris in 1814.  For him the Hundred Days was the  ‘irredeemable crime and capital error’ of Napoleon; marriage, especially Chateaubriand’s own, was ‘the high road to all misfortunes’. Disabused of everyone, he asks: ‘is life anything but a lie?’

By François-René de Chateaubriand, Robert Baldick (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Memoirs from Beyond the Tomb as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The most enjoyable, glamorous and gripping of all 19th-century autobiographies - a tumultuous account of France hit by wave after wave of revolutions

Memoirs from Beyond the Tomb is the greatest and most influential of all French autobiographies - an extraordinary, highly entertaining account of a uniquely adventurous and frenzied life. Chateaubriand gives a superb narrative of the major events of his life - which spanned the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Era and the uneasy period that led up to the Revolution of 1830.


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