Top positive review
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on 19 August 2009
I came to this from a position of considerable ignorance. Doyle's introductory section reviews the development of views about the French Revolution over the last hundred years. I was struck by the passion invested in these differences. But when I came to the main text I realised what a colossal change the Revolution was, perhaps even more then the English Revolution in the previous century. For France swept away centuries of feudal and subsequent layers of administration, obligations and hierarchies, almost overnight, owing to a combination of literacy and education, financial meltdown (the government was seriously broke) and a succession of poor harvests.
The influence of the English (to some extent) and more particularly the American Revolutions was paramount.
This book is rather hazy and mazy at times, but the more it gets into its stride you get a gratifyingly sophisticated, complex and penetratingly comprehensive class analysis whose dynamism is convincingly traced.