The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction

Front Cover
OUP Oxford, Aug 23, 2001 - History - 152 pages
43 Reviews
Beginning with a discussion of familiar images of the French Revolution, garnered from Dickens, Baroness Orczy, and Tolstoy, as well as the legends of let them eat cake, and tricolours, Doyle leads the reader to the realization that we are still living with developments and consequences of the French Revolution such as decimalization, and the whole ideology of human rights. Continuing with a brief survey of the old regime and how it collapsed, Doyle continues to ellucidate how the revolution happened: why did the revolutionaries quarrel with the king, the church and the rest of Europe, why this produced Terror, and finally how it accomplished rule by a general. The revolution destroyed the age-old cultural, institutional and social structures in France and beyond. This book looks at how the ancien regime became ancien as well as examining cases in which achievement failed to match ambition. Doyle explores the legacy of the revolution in the form of rationality in public affairs and responsible government, and finishes his examination of the revolution with a discussion as to why it has been so controversial. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #54)

User Review  - Kathleen Zaker - Goodreads

I thought I would be reading a short introduction about the French Revolution, which could help me teach A Tale of Two Cities. Instead, the book was more political philosophy. I nevertheless found the ... Read full review

Review: The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #54)

User Review  - Goodreads

a picture-perfect, bourgeois view of the french revolution Read full review

References to this book

N. J. H. Dent
No preview available - 2005
All Book Search results »

About the author (2001)

William Doyle is Professor of History at the University of Bristol. His publications include The Oxford History of the French Revolution (1990), Origins of the French Revolution (1999), The Old European Order 1660-1800 (1992), and forthcoming from OUP, Old Regime France (2001).

Bibliographic information