Item description for Vive la Revolution: A Stand-up History of the French Revolution by Mark Steel...
“Thank goodness . . . for Mark Steel. Engagingly lighthearted while clearly thorough, the author has taken the events of the French Revolution and given them a human face, as well as neatly poking fun at the over-pomposity with which our recent historians have dealt with the period.”—The Observer
“With Vive La Revolution [Steel] examines the raw material of 1789, not so much in search of laughs as in an attempt to reclaim the first popular revolution from the dry historians.”—Scotsman
“A cross between a history of the French Revolution and a spirited defense of the ideals that inspired it.”—The Independent
“Steel expertly guides the reader through the philosophies, protagonists, failures and serious legacy of the events of 1789.”—Guardian
Vive la Revolution is an uproariously serious work of history. Brilliantly funny and insightful, it puts individual people back at the center of the story of the French Revolution, telling this remarkable story as it has never been told before.
For the Haymarket edition, Steel has added a new preface for North American readers and revised the book to address parallel themes in US history.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1" Width: 6" Height: 8.75" Weight: 0.94 lbs.
Release Date Dec 1, 2006
Publisher Haymarket Books
ISBN 193185937X ISBN13 9781931859370
Availability 6 units. Availability accurate as of May 27, 2017 07:51.
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More About Mark Steel
Mark Steel is a writer, presenter and comedian. His TV and radio series include The Mark Steel Solution, The Mark Steel Revolution and The Mark Steel Lectures. He writes a weekly column for the Independent newspaper and is a regular on Radio 4's Loose Ends and The News Quiz. He lives in London.
Reviews - What do customers think about Vive la Revolution: A Stand-up History of the French Revolution?
I hope someone else will write a short history of this period May 2, 2008
Steel keeps pushing his jokes too far and inserting his juvenile humor into the story by constantly writing dialog for people to have said. He also gets facts wrong and inserts his own politics far too often.
A short concise history much like "1066" by David Howarth would be great on this topic. However Steel's book is for pushing his political opinions under the guise of jokes about a deadly period in our history.
Well... Oct 17, 2007
I'm not sure what to make of this book. I very much like the idea of presenting history in an accessible and funny way and it definitely is a good read. Still, as others mentioned too, I'm not sure about the facts. I think in the first chapter, Mark Steel writes that it was Louis XVI who said "L'état c'est moi", when I think it actually was Louis XIV! Please do correct me if I'm wrong, it really confuses me ever since reading this passage in Steel's book. How can an author make such a mistake when he's writing a book about the French Revolution!?
That's why I'm giving the book 3 stars - because I'm not sure if what I learned by reading the book is wrong or right! :(
Now THAT'S How You Write History Sep 25, 2007
Steel's delightful little primer on the 18th century "regime change" they had in France should be required reading for all history authors. Yes, Steel is irreverent and he is a comedian, so his apparently frivolous style can be dismissed as the scribblings of an amateur. Doing so would miss the point of good writing; don't take your subject so seriously that you forget Rule Number One; Don't let the reader fall asleep. In this Steel admirably succeeds, sprinkling anecdotes, witty reflections and significant historical highlights throughout, letting the casually interested reader taste enough of the subject to want to know more. To this effect, Steel provides a nice summation of relevant tomes on the major characters and events written by more "sophisticated" authors. His observations on the issues of then versus today are, at times, a bit of a stretch, but ideologically I'm on the same page with this dude. Revolution may be a cure for what ails this country, with Bush the new Louis XVI. I wish the analogy could be brought to its full fruition.
Brilliant way to introduce history to a curious reader Sep 19, 2007
The book gives an inteligent reader the real flavor of the events, the feeling of the atmosphere in which the french revolution started and developed. and this is done with humor and love towards all the participants. Mark Steel adores and understands the mob the aristocrats, the king and queen the french language but all of those are delicately smirked at. His knowlege of dates and facts never makes the narrative dull or boring.His thinking creatively takes situations into our update reality and effectively compares them to current events. Vive Mark Steel!
Great overview of events; different point of view Jul 8, 2007
As an overview of the French Revolution from the start in 1789 through to the reign of Napoleon this book is an excellent review of events with intelligent insight into causes and motives, done with a British sense of humour. While debunking some myths and challenging the statements of some other scholars the author also brings a viewpoint of the "worker" into focus based on his own experiences in being part of labor movement protests that never went nearly so far as a Reign of Terror. Having read several other more in depth books on the revolution I enjoyed this step-back approach. I think I got more out of this for having read other material on the subject first; but one could read this as an introductory or as only source material. It also has an excellent bibliography for further reading.