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Robespierre: A Revolutionary Life Paperback – 1 Oct 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; Reprint edition (1 Oct 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300197241
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300197242
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Peter McPhee seeks to get under the skin and into the mind of Robespierre, juxtaposing personal and political factors in a gripping narrative. Robespierre emerges less as the man who ruined the Revolution than as a man the Revolution ruined-by the time of his death in 1794 he was an ailing exhausted husk very different from the bright-eyed, committed and courageous politician of 1789. McPhee's interpretation will surprise and intrigue in equal measure."-Colin Jones -- Colin Jones 'A wonderful, convincing study, splendidly analytical and evocative, and beautifully penned.' - John Merriman, author of A History of Modern Europe and Dynamite Club: How a Bombing in Fin-de-siecle Paris Ignited the Age of Modern Terror -- John Merriman 'This book is a triumph: an important, open-minded and often moving account of Robespierre, that will stand as a very worthy successor to the previous great biographies. Peter McPhee's lifetime of research on the French Revolution draws out the context within which Robespierre's words and actions can be better understood, and his insights into Robespierre's youth, and the way he changed, displays a real understanding of Robespierre's psychology. A great and lasting achievement.' - Marisa Linton, author of The Politics of Virtue in Enlightenment France -- Marisa Linton

About the Author

Peter McPhee is a professorial fellow at the University of Melbourne. He lives in Abbottsford, Australia.

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lemon Turtle on 2 Jan 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really like the French Revolution and so I find Robespierre of particular interest. Peter McPhee writes about the revolutionary's life in a captivating yet factually correct manner, whilst also describing the world in which Robespierre grew up to further enhance the picture of why he did what he did and became what he became.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By dms on 1 April 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book makes it clear that he was really not an interesting character in himself which makes it difficult to engage with him despite his deep involvement in one of the great events in European history
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Finally, a Fair Account 5 April 2012
By Jackie London - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Robespierre is a character in history who has been condemned to the annals of infamy. Frankly, it can be argued that he deserved it. However, many works tend to consign him for actions that he did not commit. Peter McPhee presents Robespierre's crimes as they actually were, condemning the Terror and Robespierre's hand in it, yet at the same time including the mitigating factors and exonerating him of some superfluous charges. Its bias definitely leans towards Robespierre, but this is mainly out of necessity to combat some of the mythology that has grown around the man's name. Generally it is factual and very readable. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in Robespierre or the French Revolution.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is seriously interested in ... 10 Aug 2014
By Dr. Michael J. Storek - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well written book that views the work and life of Robespierre as a whole. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is seriously interested in learning more about Robespierre beyond his current - and one-sided - image.
Five Stars 7 Oct 2014
By Operasjh - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Meticulously researched and well-written. Brings a new insight to the life of this extraordinary, complicated man.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A concise book 20 Dec 2012
By Thomas Martin - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book is a quicker read than one might expect for a volume aimed more at academics than most of the public. It is a bit overpriced for an e-book, but that is to be expected for a product with limited appeal in the marketplace. The economic reason is valid for sure. I am not a scholar, but I am intrigued by the image of Robespiere in English language films from Britain and the U. S. The Anglo Saxon world has fun with him in all the versions of " the Scarlet Pimpernel". A biased depiction for sure. The Polish/French film "Danton" apparently is the "correct' view of him on the sceen. It appears to be a trustworthy view, but the film was made in Poland at a time when the nation was emerging from decades of tyranny. Freedom of speech provided an unbiased look at the man behind "the Reign of Terror".. So I am happy to have this book to clear things up and set the record straight.
11 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Disrobed 16 Feb 2012
By Christian Schlect - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most educated people have heard of Maximilien Robespierre, a leading figure of the French Revolution. Almost all of these envision Robespierre with much blood dripping from his hands, and think of him as richly deserving of that which he eventually got--the sharp downward blade of the guillotine.

Professor Peter McPhee aims in this serious biography to give us a more responsible Robespierre, one who fought for liberty and was disinclined, even horrified, toward excesses of violence.

He shows readers the young, talented man who overcame early adversity to become educated in Paris: a hardworking man who ultimately gave up his career and personal health to the good revolution against a corrupt monarchy.

My problem: I still, even after reading Professor McPhee's book and stipulating that the French king and his lackeys had to go, think Robespierre was a left-wing political zealot who was the cause of many innocent deaths and one richly deserving of his place in infamy.
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