The French Revolution, 1789-1799

The French Revolution, 1789-1799

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This book provides a succinct yet up-to-date and challenging approach to the French Revolution of 1789-1799 and its consequences. Peter McPhee provides an accessible and reliable overview and one which deliberately introduces students to central debates among historians. The book has two main aims. One aim is to consider the origins and nature of the Revolution of 1789-99. Why was there a Revolution in France in 1789? Why did the Revolution follow its particular course after 1789? When was it 'over'? A second aim is to examine the significance of the Revolutionary period in accelerating the decay of Ancien Regime society. How 'revolutionary' was the Revolution? Was France fundamentally changed as a result of it? Of particular interest to students will be the emphasis placed by the author on the repercussions of the Revolution on the practives of daily life: the lived experience of the Revolution. The author's recent work on the environmental impact of the Revolution is also incorporated to provide a lively, modern, and rounded picture of France during this critical phase in the development of modern Europe.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 144.78 x 213.36 x 12.7mm | 226.8g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 6 maps
  • 0199244146
  • 9780199244140
  • 34,575

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Overall, I think [this book] is one of the best short histories of the Revolution to appear in many years. He is particularly successful in integrating specific case examples and quotations from the period into his general narrative and historiographic analysis and in thus conveying the drama and passion of the Revolution, so often passed over in texts of this kind. It also provides an excellent corrective to many recent "revisionist" texts, reasserting the importance of social dynamics before and during the Revolution and eshewing simplistic explanations of the Terror based solely on ideology or internal politics. Finally, I am impressed by his effective integration of a great deal of new scholarship published during the last decade, notably in his treatment of rural history and the experience of women during the Revolution. In sum, I would strongly recommend the book, and I look forward to trying it out in my own courses. Timothy Tackett, University of California Peter McPhee's history of the French Revolution is a real tour de force. More successfully than any other general history of the period, it combines an admirably clear narrative of this complex decade with an intelligent survey and analysis of other historians' perspectives. Beside them, McPhee sets out his own understandings of the Revolution sensibly and undogmatically so that readers can judge their merits. Beyond these strengths, the book is enriched by illuminating discussions of the effects of the Revolution on everyday lives of women and men and by a refreshing attention to rural France - the home of the great majority of French people at the time. Written in a lively and engaging way, this book cannot but draw readers more deeply into one of the most fascinating periods in world history. Roderick Phillips, Carleton University With an easy style and a clear purpose, Professor Peter McPhee pilots students past key questions of the origin and course, meaning and significance of the French Revolution. Touching most debates in the historiography, McPhee's history still offers a sound narrative of revolutionary events, egos and enactments, always in chapters of manageable length, always with an eye to evidence that's first-hand, fascinating and fresh. Scores of students and teachers will owe him a debt of thanks. Adrian Jones, La Trobe University

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About Peter McPhee

Peter McPhee was educated at the Universtity of Melbourne. He taught at La Trobe University (Melbourne) and the Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand) before returning to the University of Melbourne, where he has held a Personal Chair in History since 1993. He has published widely on the history of modern France, notably, 'A Social History of France 1780-1880' (London, 1992) and Revolution and Environment in Southern France, 1780-1830' (Oxford, 1999).

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