The Oxford History of the French Revolution

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Overview

The Oxford History of the French Revolution has established itself as the most authoritative and comprehensive one-volume history of its kind. Opening with the accession of Louis XVI in 1774, it traces the history of France through revolution, terror, and counter-terror, to the triumph of Napoleon in 1802, and analyses the impact of events in France upon 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. Fully updated, this new edition features an expanded bibliographical survey of the literature dealing with the Revolution, including the most important material to have been written on the subject since the publication of the first edition.

This book will not only become the standard reference but will provide new insights into one of the most important events in European history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Traditional, scholarly, narrative history...a clear and balanced picture of the origins of the Revolution."--The New York Times Book Review

"A fair, and remarkably complete, account of both the Revolution itself and the years that preceded it...a book that sets itself to cover an immense amount of ground and ends with a clear and well-balanced final chapter in which he outlines the many gains, and the often heavy cost, of the revolutionary years ...thorough and scholarly appraisal of French cultural values."--New York Newsday

Review from previous edition... "An outstanding model of clarity and informed scholarship."--Simon Schama, New Republic

"Doyle's book, in its readability, its clarity and its balance, is certainly the best of the general studies of the Revolution that have recently appeared; it will appeal both to the general reader and to the historian. And it deals with the subject, rather than with those who have already written about it."--Richard Griffiths, Times Higher Educational Supplement (UK)

"A work of breath-taking range which deserves to reach a wide popular market. It is the fullest history to appear of the Revolutionary era, of the events preceding it and of its impact on a wider world. Masterfully written."--The Observer (UK)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198227816
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/1/1989
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 9.56 (w) x 6.50 (h) x 1.54 (d)

Meet the Author

William Doyle is Professor of History at the University of Bristol and the author of Origins of the French Revolution, Old Regime France 1648-1788, and The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction.

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Table of Contents

List of Maps
1 France under Louis XVI 1
2 Enlightened Opinion 44
3 Crisis and Collapse, 1776-1788 66
4 The Estates-General, September 1788-July 1789 86
5 The Principles of 1789 and the Reform of France 112
6 The Breakdown of the Revolutionary Consensus, 1790-1791 136
7 Europe and the Revolution, 1788-1791 159
8 The Republican Revolution, October 1791-January 1793 174
9 War against Europe, 1792-1797 197
10 The Revolt of the Provinces 220
11 Government by Terror, 1793-1794 247
12 Thermidor, 1794-1795 272
13 Counter-Revolution, 1789-1795 297
14 The Directory, 1795-1799 318
15 Occupied Europe, 1794-1799 341
16 An End to Revolution, 1799-1802 369
17 The Revolution in Perspective 391
Notes 426
App. 1 Chronology of the French Revolution 436
App. 2 The Revolutionary Calendar 444
App. 3 The Revolution and its Historians 446
Index 461
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2006

    An Exceptional Panorama of the French Revolution

    The French Revolution, an event that has transcended time, and remained one of the most dramatic events in European history. And in less than 450 pages, Professor William Doyle provides a saturated, panoramic history of the revolution in France. Rather than focusing on the tumultuous history of Paris in the 1790s, Doyle provides, in exquisite detail, the events in the hinterland of France, from the revolts of the Vendee region to the frontline of the French Revolutionary Wars. And the author even goes a step further, donating two full chapters to the ramifications of the revolution felt across Europe. Though the chapters sometimes become hard to piece together, often providing facts that are not relevant until later in the book, the writing is magnificent, and Doyle does not miss one step of the revolution. Doyle launches the reader into the years leading up to the revolution, discussing, in grand detail, the major, and sometimes minor, factors that culminated to the national revolts that were the early signs of a revolution. Under the reign of the flaunting gallantry of Louis XVI and the deceptive Marie Antoinette, unbearable winter frosts and poor harvests starved the people, leading to protests for bread, and a regulation on wildly inflating prices. As momentum gathered, and more and more became more skeptical of the monarch, a call for the Estates-General mounted, and the French Revolution was on. In the many books that I have read about the French Revolution, Doyle's book surpasses them all, providing lucid details and connecting every point with tedious research and support. And as the Reign of Terror, the famed bloody period of the revolution, progresses, Doyle remains unbiased, presenting both sides with excruciating detail. Agreeing with most modern historians, Doye characterizes the revolution as a tragedy. The ideals of the revolution, the philosophies written on the sacred parchment of The Rights of Man and the Citizen, are devoured by the rise of the popular military general, Napoleon Bonaparte. And Doyle, unlike most historians who focus on the general's emperical career, focuses on the rise of the general, and why one man could rise above the blood of thousands, given in the name of liberty. With a lucid description of the French Revolution, a grand illustration of the French Revolutionary Wars that engulfed Europe, and a conclusion that leaves the reader with even more facts to grapple with, Doyle presents the revolution in grand fashion, remaining unbiased, and leaving the reader with a thorough knowledge of the revolution. If one is searching for a book that will provide the dramatic, and often overhyped, details of the Bastille and other theatrical events, then this book is not for you. Doyle stresses that the revolution was not isolated in Paris, or in France for that matter. Many, whom are consumed by the gorey history of Paris, neglect the fact that this was a revolution of France, not one city. A compact masterpiece of the revolution, which would enlighten the minds of even the most dignified of historians, and a great historical read.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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