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The French Revolution, 1789-1799 [Paperback]

By Peter McPhee (Author)
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Item description for The French Revolution, 1789-1799 by Peter McPhee...

This book provides a succinct yet up-to-date and challenging approach to the French Revolution of 1789-1799 and its consequences. Peter McPhee provides an accessible and reliable overview and one which deliberately introduces students to central debates among historians.
The book has two main aims. One aim is to consider the origins and nature of the Revolution of 1789-99. Why was there a Revolution in France in 1789? Why did the Revolution follow its particular course after 1789? When was it 'over'? A second aim is to examine the significance of the Revolutionary period in accelerating the decay of Ancien Regime society. How 'revolutionary' was the Revolution? Was France fundamentally changed as a result of it?
Of particular interest to students will be the emphasis placed by the author on the repercussions of the Revolution on the practives of daily life: the lived experience of the Revolution. The author's recent work on the environmental impact of the Revolution is also incorporated to provide a lively, modern, and rounded picture of France during this critical phase in the development of modern Europe.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Oxford University Press, USA
Pages   216
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.42" Width: 5.46" Height: 0.51"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 17, 2002
Publisher   Oxford University Press
ISBN  0199244146  
ISBN13  9780199244140  

Availability  0 units.

More About Peter McPhee

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Peter McPhee was educated at the University of Melbourne. He taught at La Trobe University (Melbourne) and the Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand) before returning to the University of Melbourne, where he has held a Personal Chair in History since 1993. He has published widely on the history of modern France, notably, 'A Social History of France 1780-1880' (London, 1992) and Revolution and Environment in Southern France, 1780-1830' (Oxford, 1999).

Peter McPhee was born in 1948.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Europe > France > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Europe > France > Revolution
3Books > Subjects > History > Europe > General
4Books > Subjects > History > Military > Napoleonic Wars > General
5Books > Subjects > History > Military > Napoleonic Wars
6Books > Subjects > History > World > General
7Books > Subjects > History > World
8Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Criticism & Theory > General
9Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Criticism & Theory
10Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > British
11Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > History & Criticism > Literary Theory

Reviews - What do customers think about The French Revolution, 1789-1799?

Brief but Comprehensive  Nov 25, 2006
"The French Revolution, 1989-1999" is an enlightening book on the reasons, origins, development and repercussions of the French Revolution. This is a useful book for people who want to have a brief but comprehensive overview of this important event in the history of modern France, modern Europe and indeed the world.

The author methodically explains the conditions in France before the revolutions, the suffering and deprivation of the majority of the populace, the excesses of the monarchy and its allies in the nobility and the church. He presents arguments and views on whether the French Revolution was in deed a revolution, why it happened the way it did, among other things. Some of the major players in the Revolution are discussed, highlighting their roles and contributions.

Peter McPhee goes further to discuss wider and far reaching significance of the Revolution including such topics as its environmental impact, its implications on demography and family life as well as on religion in France and elsewhere.

The book is recommended for those not familiar with the French Revolution or whose knowledge of the Revolution has gone "rusty".
A useful, though necessarily limited, text   Feb 7, 2006
McPhee's book is a useful overview of the major events that transpired in France between the convocation of the Estates General in 1789 and the collapse of the Thermidorian regime. The author focuses on four major themes: 1) the rise of political cultre and the public sphere 2) gender 3) the origins of the Terror and 4) the role of the "crowd/people" in shaping events.

Although the development of revolutionary culture is addressed, it appears mostly as an afterthought. Well suited (and intended) for adaptation as a college textbook, the book is recommended for undergraduates (and general readers) who are looking for a quick summary of the Revolutionary era.
A useful short introduction  Jun 12, 2002
This rather brief book is a useful short introduction to the French Revolution. As a work of original scholarship it is not on the order of William Doyle's Oxford History of the French Revolution, though it is better footnoted than that volume. As a defense of "traditional," "Marxist" "non-minimalist" interpretations of the French Revolution as an important event that fundamentally changed France and the world for the better, McPhee's book does not go much beyond the chapters he devoted to the subject in his previous Social History of France.

Nevertheless this is a helpful book. His chapter on the breakdown of the old regime, if it does not vindicate the idea of a class conscious bourgoisie confronting the aristocracy, does note the increasing rise of capitalism and consumer culture. The bourgeoisie did triple in size over the eighteenth century, and increasing literacy, readership and Enlightenment ideas did have a middle class component. There were increasing attacks on the aristocratic "luxury", while middle class sociability increased in institutions like freemasonry. McPhee also provides information about recent areas of interest like gender and even more so on the environment (more than 70% of the people who took advantage of the Revolution's law on divorce were female). He also provides interesting details, such as how the Right Wing Press in the early 1790s started attacking the revolutionaries as Jews and how their bloodthirsty language encouraged the panic that led to the September Massacres. Ironically, at the height of the Paris Terror of Spring-Summer 1794, the Convention reinstated more than 70 Gironde sympathizers whom Robespierre had saved from trial and execution.

In conclusion, McPhee argues that the Revolution was an important event in French history. It had clear effects on demography, as contraception spread and the birth rate fell, on language, as more and more people spoke French (only half did in 1789) and in the decline of churchgoing. Although still important, the nobility clearly suffered a loss of influence, while the bourgeoisie gained and even the peasantry improved. McPhee might have quoted Paul Spagnoli's 1997 article in the Journal of Family History which noted a decline in mortality rates unmatched in Europe. But this is still a useful introduction to people otherwise unfamiliar with the French Revolution.


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