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The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction (2001)

de William Doyle

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Beginning with a discussion of familiar images of the French Revolution, this work looks at how the ancien re?gime became ancien as well as examining cases in which achievement failed to match ambition.
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Helpful book which aids in understanding the French Revolution. ( )
  Morgana1522 | Nov 19, 2023 |
A clear, concise account of popular images of the French Revolution (Carlyle, Dickens, Orczy), what led to it, the events, the aftermath, and scholarship surrounding the bicentennial and afterwards. ( )
  Robertgreaves | May 1, 2022 |
Doyle provides a very compact and dense summary of the French Revolution. He summarizes the causes which started the revolution, the events which happened during the revolution, and the effects it caused, some of which have reverberated down to the modern day. The short chapters make the book easy to read in a few sittings, and the chapter titles give the reader the direction for the chapter (Why it happened, how it happened, what it ended, what it started). Doyle mentions all the key players, political parties, and the international incidents the revolution impacted.

Also included is a very detailed timeline, a note on the Revolutionary calendar, and a nice selection of suggestions for further reading. As always the Very Short Introductions pack a heavy punch in spite of their small size (this one is just 100 pages). ( )
  kkunker | Mar 26, 2012 |
This small-format paperback is only 108 pages ("very short") but packs a wallop. The French Revolution is a hugely complex topic, not least because it remains to this day highly controversial, there are 100s of tomb-length books including the flood of books on the 200th anniversary in 1989. Where to start? Here. Doyle gives an overview of the basic events but that is not his main purpose. Rather his chapter titles explain: "Why it happened", "How it happened", "What it ended", "What it started" and "Where it stands." In other words, he uses historiography to put it into historical context. In the end the actual events are curious and interesting, but they were so confusing and full of contingencies that even contemporaries had trouble keeping track of what was happening around them. The bigger questions of Doyle's chapter titles provide a higher-level understanding that rises above the trees and gives an understanding that would take years of reading specialized books to arrive at. Doyle himself is well known for the Oxford history of the French Revolution, respected for its even-handed treatment, representing all sides and taking a neutral point of view. It can be read in an evening and the reader will come away with a clear understanding of why it's important and where the main axis of debate is today.

--Review by Stephen Balbach, via CoolReading (c) 2008 cc-by-nd ( )
1 vota Stbalbach | Apr 26, 2008 |
Beginning with a discussion of familiar images of the French Revolution, garnered from Dickens, Baroness Orczy, and Tolstoy, as well as the legends of let them eat cake, and tricolours, Doyle leads the reader to the realization that we are still living with developments and consequences of the French Revolution such as decimalization, and the whole ideology of human rights. Continuing with a brief survey of the old regime and how it collapsed, Doyle continues to ellucidate how the revolution happened: why did the revolutionaries quarrel with the king, the church and the rest of Europe, why this produced Terror, and finally how it accomplished rule by a general. The revolution destroyed the age-old cultural, institutional and social structures in France and beyond. This book looks at how the ancien regime became ancien as well as examining cases in which achievement failed to match ambition. Doyle explores the legacy of the revolution in the form of rationality in public affairs and responsible government, and finishes his examination of the revolution with a discussion of why it has been so controversial. ( )
  MarkBeronte | Jan 8, 2014 |
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Beginning with a discussion of familiar images of the French Revolution, this work looks at how the ancien re?gime became ancien as well as examining cases in which achievement failed to match ambition.

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