The Oxford History of the French Revolution / Edition 2

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This second edition of the most authoritative and comprehensive history of the French Revolution draws on a wealth of new research in order to reassess the greatest of all revolutions. It includes a generous chronology of events and an extended bibliographical essay providing an examination of the historiography of the Revolution. Beginning with the accession of Louis XVI in 1774, leading historian William Doyle traces the history of France through revolution, terror, and counter-terror, to the triumph of Napoleon in 1802, along the way analyzing the impact of these events in France upon the rest of Europe. He explores how a movement which began with optimism and general enthusiasm soon became a tragedy, not only for the ruling orders, but for millions of ordinary people all over Europe who paid the price for the destruction of the old political order and the struggle to establish a new one.
Highly readable and meticulously researched, The Oxford History of the French Revolution will provide new insight into one of the most important events in European history.

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: 9780199252985
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 149,069
  • Product dimensions: 7.60 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 1.40 (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
2. Enlightened Opinion
3. Crisis and Collapse, 1776-1788
4. The Estates-General, September 1788-July 1789
5. The Principles of 1789 and the Reform of France
6. The Breakdown of Revolutionary Consensus, 1790-1791
7. Europe and the Revolution, 1788-1791
8. The Republican Revolution, October 1791-January 1793
9. War Against Europe, 1792-1797
10. The Revolt of the Provinces
11. Government by Terror, 1793-1794
12. Thermidor, 1794-1795
13. Counter-Revolution, 1789-1795
14. The Directory, 1795-1799
15. Occupied Europe, 1794-1799
16. An End to Revolution, 1799-1802
17. The Revolution in Perspective
Appendix I: Chronology of the French Revolution
Appendix II: The Revolutionary Calendar
Bibliography: The Revolution and its Historians

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Customer Reviews

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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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