Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Novel of the Franco-Prussian War, 30 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Debacle: (1870-71) (Classics) (Paperback)
‘The Debacle’ is the penultimate book in the twenty book saga of the life and times of the Rougon-Macquart family, published by Zola to great acclaim in 1892. One of the central characters of this story is Jean Macquart, thus continuing the saga. However, all the books are complete in themselves and readers should not feel deterred from reading this classic of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 out of sequence. Zola was able to talk to many who had been involved in the war and undertook research in the area of Sedan, the scene of the major battle sequences in the book. In addition Zola was himself caught up in the Paris Commune of 1871 which followed the investment of Paris by the Prussians after the war. He was in considerable danger during this turmoil but was an eye witness to the destruction and horrors of the short lived Commune that features in the final third of the novel. Thus the book is generally regarded as a classic of historical writing and reliable in its detail.
The book is a nineteenth century work and does rely upon somewhat incredible coincidence, but this device is simply used by Zola as a tool to be able to describe different aspects of the momentous actions taking place as the French and Prussian armies manoeuvred and then smashed into each other in the environs of Sedan. The first section of the book does contain some longueurs as Zola establishes the marching and counter-marching and dispiriting confusion of the French Army under incompetent leadership, but readers should not despair once action is joined the narrative races along in graphic detail to provide some of the very best battle scene writing in literature as we read of the destruction and capture of the French Army of Chalons. Zola introduces a number of the real leaders into the narrative including the Emperor, Napoleon III, to great effect.
As mentioned earlier the narrative moves to the siege of Paris and the establishment of the Commune. Again the writing of Zola is very graphic and his description of these tragic events provide a good corrective to some of the rather fanciful left-wing ‘glory’ surrounding these events. Whilst being in sympathy with the Left Zola had no time for the wanton destruction and violence of the Commune.
A classic work of its type and perhaps one of the best ways to understand the real nature of the Franco-Prussian War, and a very entertaining read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

Reviewer

Dr. R. Brandon
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   

Location: England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 679