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on 9 July 2007
There's been a big change in recent years how history is written, and this 1957 book is a reminder why I found it such a dull subject at school. The revolution (surely an event tailor-made to be a gripping and fascinating read) is presented as a dry, academic synthesis of the various social / political / economic factors, conveying nothing of the sheer drama of the time. Example: "Hume even deduced from sense-data associations that rational principles, inculcated in man through daily experiences, could lead only to approximate and provisional generalizations. As a result, the value of scientific rationalism was limited to the fruitful results of its empiricism, and in fact that term is often used to distinguish it from purely deductive rationalism." If 300 pages of this sounds fun, this is the book for you. This is not to denigrate the author for one second, his credentials seem impeccable, but personally am grateful that there's a wealth of history books out there which entertain as well as inform.
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on 20 September 2003
Lefrebvre, who died in 1959, was recognised as a great historian of the French Revolution. He taught in various French universities from 1924 to 1945, latterly at the Sorbonne. His work is firmly rooted in the Marxist tradition which dominated French historical studies at the time.
Originally published in 1951, this work received international acclaim.
The subject matter of this first volume covers the world on the eve of the revolution and the events up to 1793, including the European reaction to the revolution and the outbreak of the revolutionary wars. As would be expected of a historian such as Lefebvre, who won earler acclaim for his work on the French peasantry in the revolution, he is particularly good on events in the countryside, such as the "great fear" of 1789.
If your interest in the French revolution centres on the terror and the lopping off of heads, this book is not for you. For one thing, the great terror is covered in the second volume. For another, Lefebvre's focus is righly directed not at the gory details, but on the politics which caused this revolutionary crisis and the reaction which followed.
Lefebvre's writing style is quite dense and academic and perhaps the translator has done him no favours, for the book is not easy going by any means. It is certainly not a beginner's guide. If you are a history undergraduate with some previous knowledge of the revolution and want to study the classical French Marxist interpretation, then it is probably a book for you.
If it was a matter of content and analysis alone, I would give it a higher mark, but the writing style is what gives it only 3.
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on 7 January 2016
Great book. excellent condition.
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on 7 October 2015
Amazing!
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on 7 September 2014
Excellent. My husband loved this book and thoroughly enjoyed it.
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on 26 March 2008
This is the best study of the revolution, far better than any of its English rivals.
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on 10 September 2015
Excellent book worth every penny to a serious student
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