Modern history

A People's History of the French Revolution

A People's History of the French Revolution

The assault on the Bastille, the Reign of Terror, Danton mocking his executioner, Robespierre dispensing a fearful justice, and the archetypal gadfly Marat – the events and figures of the French Revolution have exercised a hold on the historical imagination for more than 200 years. It has been a template for heroic insurrection and, to more conservative minds, a cautionary tale.

In the hands of Eric Hazan, author of The Invention of Paris, the revolution becomes a rational and pure struggle for emancipation. In this new history, the first significant account of the French Revolution in over twenty years, Hazan maintains that it fundamentally changed the Western world – for the better.

Looking at history from the bottom up, providing an account of working people and peasants, Hazan asks, how did they see their opportunities? What were they fighting for? What was the Terror and could it be justified? And how was the revolution stopped in its tracks? The People’s History of the French Revolution is a vivid retelling of events, bringing them to life with a multitude of voices. Only in this way, by understanding the desires and demands of the lower classes, can the revolutionary bloodshed and the implacable will of a man such as Robespierre be truly understood.


Chapter 1: How Things Stood

Chapter 2: Towards the Estates-General

Chapter 3: May to September 1789

Chapter 4: October 1789 to July 1790

Chapter 5: July 1790 to September 1791

Chapter 6: October 1791 to June 1792

Chapter 7: June to August 1792

Chapter 8: September 1792 to January 1793

Chapter 9: October 1792 to June 1793

Chapter 10: June to October 1793

Chapter 11: October to December 1793

Chapter 12: Autumn 1793

Chapter 13: Brumaire to Germinal year II/November 1793 to April 1794

Chapter 14: April to July 1794

Epilogue: The meaning of 9 Thermidor

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