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Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution
     

Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution

4.3 4
by Simon Schama, LuAnn Walther (Editor)
 

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In this New York Times bestseller, award-winning author Simon Schama presents an ebullient country, vital and inventive, infatuated with novelty and technology--a strikingly fresh view of Louis XVI's France. One of the great landmarks of modern history publishing, Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution is the most authoritative

Overview

In this New York Times bestseller, award-winning author Simon Schama presents an ebullient country, vital and inventive, infatuated with novelty and technology--a strikingly fresh view of Louis XVI's France. One of the great landmarks of modern history publishing, Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution is the most authoritative social, cultural, and narrative history of the French Revolution ever produced.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Dazzling...stimulating...This is no ordinary book...Schama does not merely write brilliantly about people, about events, about the abuse of rhetoric, and about festivals and executions. He also chronicle with a dramatic burst of poetic imagination.... The virtues of this book [lie] in the coruscating brilliance of dazzling display of erudition and intelligence ... His chronicle is, after all, a stunningly virtuoso performance." -- Lawrence Stone, The New Republic

"One of The Best Books Of The Decade." -- Time

"Monumental...a delight to read...Lively descriptions of major events, colorful cameos of leading characters (and obscure ones too), bring them to life here as no other general work has done....Above all, Mr. Schama tells a story, and he tells it well." -- The New York Times Book Review

"Citizens, like the great 19th-century narratives it emulates, makes entertainment and erudition work hand in hand....As no other recent historian of the revolution, Schama brings to life the excitement -- and harrowing terror -- of an epochal human event." -- Newsweek

"A fresh and elegant narrative...A brilliantly readable and beautifully illustrated account." -- Washington Post Book World

"We are in the hands of a master storyteller...Vivid, dramatic, thought-provoking...Schama's portrait of the revolution is often surprising...His splendid recounting convinces us that much of what we thought we knew is wrong." -- Time

New York Times Books of the Century
...[A] most intelligent work.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In what PW called a ``sprawling, provocative, sometimes infuriating chronicle that stands much conventional wisdom on its head,'' Schama argues that the Revolution did not produce a ``patriotic culture of citizenship'' but was preceded by one.
Library Journal
The appearance of this book is certain to be one of the main publishing events of the bicentennial year of the French Revolution. It blends gritty details about everyday life with an old-fashioned, dramatic narrative form. Among other things, Schama argues that the Old Regime fell not because it was stagnant but because it was moving too fast. Unlike Marxists and ``new historians,'' Schama stresses the importance of individual events and people. He detects the emergence of a patriotic culture of citizenship in the decades preceding 1789 and explains how citizenship came to be a public expression of an idealized family during the Revolution. One criticism: there are no footnotes citing sources. -- Thomas J. Schaeper, St. Bonaventure University, New York
School Library Journal
This well-written, thoroughly documented book should be on every high-school library shelf. It explains the self-destructive, bloody orgy that occurred in France but not in England or Prussia, countries in similar states of poverty and with similarly deprived, disenfranchised populaces. Schama theorizes that the cause of France's revolution lies in the self-deception of the ruling intelligentsia, who believed that they could make a Utopian France by allowing controlled violence, murder, and the destruction of property in the name of liberty, and all to exist simultaneously with good government. Schama presents Talleyrand, Lafayette, and others with more understanding than they are given in most histories, setting them amidst a web of violence of their own making. This book speaks to today's world, as nations strive to move from despotism to democracy.-- Barbara Batty, Port Arthur Independent School District, Texas

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679726104
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/28/1990
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
976
Sales rank:
254,812
Product dimensions:
6.31(w) x 9.12(h) x 1.64(d)

Meet the Author

Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University and the prize-winning author of seventeen books, including The Embarrassment of RichesCitizensLandscape and MemoryRembrandt's Eyes, the History of Britain trilogy and The Story of the Jews. He is a contributing editor of the Financial Times and his award-winning television work as writer and presenter for the BBC includes the fifteen-part A History of Britain and the eight-part, Emmy-winning Power of Art.

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Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This excellent book should appeal to both the scholar and the interested amateur student of history with its fascinating depiction of the causes, events, and personalities of the French Revolution. The hundreds of illustrations serve the text very well. This is serious history that reads like a novel--a very long and complex novel, to be sure.

It has its faults; I would have preferred that it continue the history of the Revolution at least to the beginning of the Directory rather than conclude with an abrupt cutoff (no pun intended) at the death of Robespierre and the end of the Terror. And there are some minor but glaring errors of fact that should have been caught by the author, editor, or even copy editor. But overall, a grand and ambitious history.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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