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on 23 August 2017
The classic account of the French Revolution is still fresh and involving. This is my second copy of of Simon Schama's eye-level view which still manages to keep an overview woven into the narrative. Nevertheless, a little prior knowledge of the main events is useful but not essential because the detail then becomes so much more enticing.
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on 26 July 2017
This is one of the best books about the French Revolution and studied alongside one of the books of original document reproductions, allows the reader to understand every aspect of this event. This book was so cheap that I couldn't believe it and arrived in just a few days in very good condition.
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on 16 May 2014
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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on 18 January 2017
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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on 4 March 2016
Excellent.
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on 18 July 2012
I bought this as a companion to A Place Of Greater Safety which is currently my best book in the world - so I was basically using the index to explore areas of interest thrown up by the novel. The book was excellent for this - as you might expect from someone with Schama'a depth of knowledge. There is a wealth of detail and he does seem to take as his focus the revolution's effect on minor participants and the 'innocent'. I didn't feel compelled to read the whole thing - I find his Americanisms [ gotten etc.] irritating and I bought several other revolutionary texts closer to my own interests. He does write very sympathetically about Desmoulins' last letters in prison and has identified the importance of the Vieux Cordelier with a footnote about an article on the subject which I can't find anywhere. For anyone wanting a thorough introduction I should think it was pretty good.
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on 5 November 2010
The French Revolution is such a massive subject, and that itself makes a massive problem both for readers and writers - how to steer a course between a simplification which will mislead the reader into supposing that it was so simple, or on the other hand a full presentation in which most readers will eventually just get lost. Simon Schama, who confesses in his preface that he isn't given to writing short books, opted for the fuller style. For my money, he was right and I'm glad to have this book and to have read most of it (maybe I'll go on and finish it too, some day). Don't go to this for a light holiday read, but if you're prepared to give it time, you may find it, as I did, very rewarding.
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on 16 January 2015
it goes so well with the marvellous Mantel 'place of greater safety' Must read both!
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on 5 December 2014
Excellent.
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on 8 September 2016
Arrived as promised
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