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Customer Review

30 of 38 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacking, 25 Nov. 2007
This review is from: Citizens: A Chronicle of The French Revolution (Paperback)
Schama believes that the Revolution ended with the end of the Terror. This is simply not true and a marker for the sort of angle he has taken on the matter. Whilst undeniably well written, Schama offers little or no explanation for why events took place. How he manages to get away with this is a miracle, given the wealth of debate on the matter. Engaging primary anecdotes aside, that do indeed 'bring characters to life', there is little here of worth.

Anger an historian you know by gushing about how you love his lyrical prose, but don't use this to write an essay. There are works which go much deeper in markedly fewer pages. William Doyle's 'Oxford History of the French Revolution' makes up for what it lacks in style with significant benefits of analytical reasoning. Doyle is the historian's guide to the revolution.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 31 Jul 2008 16:24:54 BDT
I would like a suggestion as to which the 'other works which go deeper in fewer pages 'are

Posted on 27 Dec 2008 19:45:15 GMT
"There are works which go much deeper in markedly fewer pages"...fine, but what are they?

Posted on 27 Dec 2008 19:45:15 GMT
"There are works which go much deeper in markedly fewer pages"...fine, but what are they?

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jun 2009 23:21:30 BDT
Vik77 says:
Norman Hampson's books are excellent: he has a superb knowledge of the subject - he's devoted a lifetime to it (unlike the shoddy Schama!), a fluid, unpretentious style, and he's level headed, without a contemporary political axe to grind (most 19thc and some late 20thc 'takes' on this period, like Schama's, are right-wing, whilst many 20thc French historians view it through a Marxist lens). He also saw action in WW2, which gives him a greater understanding of the intensity of the Revolution than some other historians. 'A Social History of the French Revolution' is the 'studenty' one, whilst 'A Concise History of the French Revolution', which is illustrated, is more for the general reader. His more detailed studies - such as 'The Life and Opinions of Maximilien Robespierre', etc. , are excellent, if you want to delve deeper. J. M. Thompson's 'Leaders of the French Revolution' is another good introduction to the major players of the period. Both these writers' works are available cheaply second-hand, or are still in print.
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