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The Terror The Merciless War for Freedom in Revolutionary France (Paperback)

Author:  David Andress
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Learn more about The Terror:

Format: Paperback
ISBN-10: 0374530734
ISBN-13: 9780374530730
Sku: 202836987
Publish Date: 12/26/2006
Dimensions:  (in Inches) 8.25H x 5.5L x 1.5T
Pages:  441
Age Range:  NA
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In the brief midsummer darkness of 20-21 June 1791, Louis XVI, King of the French, fled his capital and his people. Using secret passageways in the Tuileries palace, the royal family were spirited away by a small band of loyal followers, leaving central Paris in a hired hackney carriage driven by Axel von Fersen, a dashing young Swedish knight, and rumoured lover of Queen Marie-Antoinette. (from the first line)
For two hundred years, the Terror has haunted the imagination of the West. The descent of the French Revolution from rapturous liberation into an orgy of apparently pointless bloodletting has been the focus of countless reflections on the often malignant nature of humanity and the folly of revolution. David Andress, a leading historian of the French Revolution, presents a radically different account of the Terror. In a remarkably vivid and page-turning work of history, he transports the reader from the pitched battles on the streets of Paris to the royal family's escape through secret passageways in the Tuileries palace, and across the landscape of the tragic last years of the Revolution. The violence, he shows, was a result of dogmatic and fundamentalist thinking: dreadful decisions were made by groups of people who believed they were still fighting for freedom but whose survival was threatened by famine, external war, and counter-revolutionaries within the fledging new state. Urgent questions emerge from Andress's trenchant reassessment: When is it right to arbitrarily detain those suspected of subversion? When does an earnest patriotism become the rationale for slaughter?
Combining startling narrative power and bold insight, "The Terror" is written with verve and exceptional pace-it is a superb popular debut from an enormously talented historian.
From the Publisher:
An incisive new interpretation of the French Revolution and its violent upheaval looks at troubling parallels between the Terror and the rise of today's political and religious fundamentalism, arguing that the violence of the French Revolution resulted from dogmatic and fundamental thinking that led to a pointless bloodletting. Reprint.
This bloody history of the French Revolution makes that major event accessible to the general reader, as David Andress focuses on the Reign of Terror--the collapse of order and the chaotic two-year score-settling in which tens of thousands of French citizens were killed, usually in public by guillotine. Andress blames what he calls the rigid thinking of the Jacobins, who had simply, they believed, removed an oppressive regime, yet who were blind to their own actions. Andress paints deep portraits of key personalities, including the leader of the Jacobins, Robespierre (later captured and guillotined), and Napoleon Bonaparte. He explains the issues involved, clarifies the various factions and groups, and includes helpful maps, charts, and timelines, as well as a glossary. The significance of the terror on the streets of Paris in the 1790s has long been argued by thinkers on the Left and Right--some seeing in it the seeds of 20th-century state terror, others seeing it as a warning against popular uprisings and mob rule, whether in the 1960s or in contemporary times.


'[Andress] writes clearly and authoritatively, draws deftly on recent scholarship, and provides a sure guide through some of the most compressed and tangled political undergrowth in history." - David A. Bell 04/17/2006

"Andress writes as crisp and up-to-date account of the Revolution's origins as I have read." - Adam Gopnick 06/05/2006

Kirkus Reviews
"...Andress provides a cornucopia of detail about the people and events leading to a dictatorship that allowed mass detentions and executions of perceived enemies of the revolution." 10/15/2005

Times Literary Supplement
"The distinctive feature of this book is the way in which scholarship is employed to produce a sane, measured account of the French Revolutionary Terror." - Gwynne Lewis 11/11/2005

Literary Review
"David Andress has given the reader a meticulous account of the Terror, in all its confusing twists and turns." - Christopher Sinclair-Stevenson June, 2005

Product Attributes

Product attributeBook Format:   Paperback
Product attributeNumber of Pages:   0441
Product attributePublisher:   Farrar Straus Giroux
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