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Citizens: Chronicle of the French Revolution Hardcover – 25 May 1989

3.9 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 25 May 1989
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 976 pages
  • Publisher: Viking; First Edition edition (25 May 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670810126
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670810123
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 5 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 459,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product description

Review

" Dazzling...stimulating...This is no ordinary book...Schama does not merely write brilliantly about people, about events, about the abuse of rhetoric, and about festivals and executions. He also chronicle with a dramatic burst of poetic imagination.... The virtues of this book [lie] in the coruscating brilliance of dazzling display of erudition and intelligence ... His chronicle is, after all, a stunningly virtuoso performance." -- Lawrence Stone, The New Republic
" One of The Best Books Of The Decade." -- Time
" Monumental...a delight to read...Lively descriptions of major events, colorful cameos of leading characters (and obscure ones too), bring them to life here as no other general work has done....Above all, Mr. Schama tells a story, and he tells it well." -- The New York Times Book Review
" Citizens, like the great 19th-century narratives it emulates, makes entertainment and erudition work hand in hand....As no other recent historian of the revolution, Schama brings to life the excitement -- and harrowing terror -- of an epochal human event." -- Newsweek
" A fresh and elegant narrative...A brilliantly readable and beautifully illustrated account." -- Washington Post Book World
" We are in the hands of a master storyteller...Vivid, dramatic, thought-provoking...Schama's portrait of the revolution is often surprising...His splendid recounting convinces us that much of what we thought we knew is wrong." -- Time

"Dazzling...stimulating...This is no ordinary book...Schama does not merely write brilliantly about people, about events, about the abuse of rhetoric, and about festivals and executions. He also chronicle with a dramatic burst of poetic imagination.... The virtues of this book [lie] in the coruscating brilliance of dazzling display of erudition and intelligence ... His chronicle is, after all, a stunningly virtuoso performance." -- Lawrence Stone, The New Republic
"One of The Best Books Of The Decade." -- Time
"Monumental...a delight to read...Lively descriptions of major events, colorful cameos of leading characters (and obscure ones too), bring them to life here as no other general work has done....Above all, Mr. Schama tells a story, and he tells it well." -- The New York Times Book Review
"Citizens, like the great 19th-century narratives it emulates, makes entertainment and erudition work hand in hand....As no other recent historian of the revolution, Schama brings to life the excitement -- and harrowing terror -- of an epochal human event." -- Newsweek
"A fresh and elegant narrative...A brilliantly readable and beautifully illustrated account." -- Washington Post Book World
"We are in the hands of a master storyteller...Vivid, dramatic, thought-provoking...Schama's portrait of the revolution is often surprising...His splendid recounting convinces us that much of what we thought we knew is wrong." -- Time --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University and the prize-winning author of seventeen books, includingThe Embarrassment of Riches, Citizens, Landscape and Memory, Rembrandt's Eyes, the History of Britain trilogy andThe Story of the Jews. He is a contributing editor of theFinancial Timesand his award-winning television work as writer and presenter for the BBC includes the fifteen-partA History of Britainand the eight-part, Emmy-winningPower of Art." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Having recently watched a programme about the French Revolution on BBC 2 I wanted to learn more...

Is this (as some of the Amazon 'one star' reviewers claim) an inaccurate and 'biased' telling of the French Revolution? I don't know enough about the history and the views and analysis of other credible historians to say. However, in light of the Arab Spring and the varied and complex attributions to causes and influences, what the author captures about the French Revolution - at least in terms of context-setting and events leading up to 1789 (not to stretch comparison with recent events and their legacies too far) - feels surprisingly contemporary and relevant (the book was published in 1989).

It is convincing, brilliantly written and an engrossing read. Yes, it is a very large book and in places perhaps a tad too detailed, but you do not have to be a devoted reader of history books to find this enjoyable, worthwhile and thought-provoking. I was at first sceptical about the value of including a large amount of contemporary illustrations, but they add relevant texture, explanation and interest (perhaps the equivalent of reflecting the use and influence of social media today?). Highly recommended.
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Why read fiction when factual stories are so amazing? This is a major book by an academic but it works well both for a knowledgeable curious reader and someone keen to learn about the amazing events in France between 1789 and 1793. Schama knows how to tell a tale (an overly academic `historiographical' approach could ruin this story) . In the same way that you would say goodbye at the end of a good novel, you miss this massive book when you finish it.
It's certainly not a perfect book - but the events described here are so intriguing as to be almost unparalleled. Later Schama books show less concern for his academic colleagues tut-tutting - in this one, you can feel him wanting to ignore the needs of the `I have to do this for school' readers (the ones who only care about ticking boxes on the current consensus view of the French Revolution) but not quite having the courage. If it is interesting and intriguing, tell us Simon - ignore the consensus of your colleagues - and if you think it is pretty irrelevant, just mention it en passant without feeling the need to say you why you think it is irrelevant.
Schama possesses the gift of the (written) gab - he can write and tell a great story. In his hands, the famous `Diamond Necklace Affair' could be a modern political running story - in fact Marie Antoinette repeatedly declined to acquire the famously expensive bit of bling but the cover up, confusion and lies are part of what created seething hatred towards her. You almost feel you are there as Schama describes the failed escape of the Royal Family. The story of how the anthem, the Marseillaise, came about is as relaxing to read as watching a really good TV documentary on the writing of `All You Need is Love'.
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Despite being a great admirer of his TV presentations I was hugely disappointed as it was very slow moving and I am ashamed to say I have put it back on the shelf for the time being.
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The French Revolution is a fascinating time in history, and this book chronicles the events extremely well in a very readable way.
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Arrived as promised
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Excellent.
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Excellent.
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A cracking read. A story told in Schama's typical breathless and evocative style.

Spoiler alert! - Louis XVI dies.
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