The Oxford History of the French Revolution

The Oxford History of the French Revolution

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Description

This is a comprehensive history of the French Revolution of 1789. Published to mark the bicentenary of its outbreak, this survey draws on a generation of extensive research and scholarly debate to reappraise the most famous of all revolutions. Opening with the accession of Louis XVI in 1774, the book traces the history of France through revolution, terror and counter-revolution, to the triumph of Napoleon in 1802. It analyzes the impact of events both in France itself and the rest of Europe. William Doyle shows how a movement which began with optimism and general enthusiasm soon became a tragedy, not only for the ruling orders, but for the millions of ordinary people all over Europe whose lives were disrupted by religious upheaval, and civil and international war. It was they who paid the price for the destruction of the old political order and the struggle to establish a new one, based on the ideals of liberty and revolution, in the face of widespread indifference and hostility.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 477 pages
  • 130 x 196 x 34mm | 359.99g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford Paperbacks
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0192852213
  • 9780192852212

Table of contents

France under Louis XVI; A crisis of confidence; The collapse of Government, 1776-1788; The Estates-General, September 1788-July 1789; The principles of 1789 and the reform of France; The breakdown of revolutionary concensus, 1790-1792; Europe and the Revolution, 1788-1791; The Republican Revolution, 1791-January 1793; War against Europe, 1792-1797; The revolt of the Provinces; Government by terror, 1793-1794; Thermidor, 1794-1795; Counter-revolution, 1789-1795; The directory, 1795-1799; Occupied Europe, 1794-1799; An end to Revolution, 1799-1802; The Revolution in perspective; chronology; annotated list of further reading.show more

About William Doyle

About the Author William Doyle is Professor of History and Chairman of the School of History at the University of Bristol. He is the author of Origins of the French Revolution.show more

Review Text

Another bicentennial history, this one an authoritative version by a professor of history at the Univ. of Bristol. Doyle eschews the revisionism of J.F. Bosher's The French Revolution (1988), the focus on the mob of Olivier Bernier's Words of Fire. Deeds of Blood (p. 512), the massive sweep of Simon Schama's Citizens (p. 195), and the narrow theoretical grounds of Emmet Kennedy's A Cultural History of the French Revolution (p. 604). Rather, his is a thorough textbook summary of the French Revolution, emphasizing its ironies; in fact, Doyle sees the Revolution as "in every sense a tragedy" - noting that while it introduced greater rationality and logic into national affairs, greatly improving the administration of the country (including the introduction of the metric and decimal systems), and even introducing a more humane form of execution (the guillotine), it also wreaked havoc with old patterns of charity, resulting in increased poverty, and was, overall, an economic disaster for France as the Revolutionists opted for printing money rather than raising taxes. Even when the more perverse elements of the Revolution were scaled down, Doyle argues, there remained a new concept of coercive State power far in excess of anything dreamed of by the dispossessed monarchy - a concept that produced some of its cruelest manifestations only two centuries later. In conclusion, Doyle scores the Revolution a loss for nobles and the Church, a win for landowners, the bourgeoisie, bureaucrats, and soldiers. A recommended general review, shorn of excessive theorizing. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

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532 ratings
3.8 out of 5 stars
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4 43% (229)
3 29% (154)
2 5% (26)
1 1% (5)
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