Voices of the French Revolution

Richard Cobb, Editor, Colin Jones, Editor Salem House Publishers $29.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-88162-338-3
This irresistible history of the French Revolution is much more than a colorful mosaic. By splicing a reflective narrative with graphics (engravings, satirical cartoons, photographs) and primary documentsletters, trial transcripts, memoirs, decrees, newspaper editorialsit brings vivid immediacy to tumultuous events without sacrificing objective distance. The main narrative consists of dozens of tableaux, allowing room for such topics as prison conditions, Freemasonry, feudalism, the market for luxury goods. Along with the expected profiles of Marie-Antoinette, Louis XVI, Robespierre and Marat, we meet scheming pretender Philippe of Orleans who tried to bring down the king, professional revolutionary Tom Paine imprisoned under the Terror, and unstable leftist Joseph Fouche who led a campaign of de-Christianization and later became Napoleon's police minister. The text is provocative in its discussion of the Jacobins' prototype welfare state and of the Terror as a response to foreign pressures. Cobb is the author of Paris and its Provinces ; Jones is a British professor. 25,000 first printing; BOMC selection. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1988
Release date: 11/01/1988
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