The French Revolution

Claude Manceron, Author, Nancy Amphoux, Translator Simon & Schuster $29.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-67848-7
Irreverent in tone, omniscient in viewpoint, French historian Manceron's ongoing history of the French Revolution is a month-by-month panorama. In this fifth installment, we watch fatuous Louis XVI, bobbing like a cork on the waves, surrounded by incompetents and knaves (including Charles Alexandre de Calonne, his cunning finance chief). We see revolutionist statesman Mirabeau, ``like a marathon runner in training,'' interposing himself between the masses and the privileged. The often-present-tense narration lends immediacy and the scope is international, extending from the Kiev of Russian Empress Catherine II to Philadelphia, where morose George Washington signs the Constitution. Mozart, Goethe, Stendahl and a thin, unprepossessing 18-year-old lieutenant, Napoleone de Buonaparte, add luster to this dazzling, unconventional history. Illustrated. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1989
Release date: 11/01/1989
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