The French Revolution

  • by William Doyle
  • Narrated by Suzanne Toren
  • 4 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

William Doyle, the author of the classic text on the French Revolution, guides the reader through a historical event of such import and consequence that we are still living with its developments today. Beginning with a discussion of the familiar images of the French Revolution, Doyle continues on to a brief survey of the old regime and how it collapsed. Proceeding, Doyle elucidates how the revolution happened: why the revolutionaries quarreled with the king, the church and the rest of Europe, why this produced Terror, and finally how it accomplished rule by a general. This compelling Very Short Introduction looks at how the ancient regime that the revolution destroyed had become so entrenched and also examines cases in which revolutionary achievement failed to match ambition. Finally, Doyle explores the legacy of the revolution in the form of rationality in public affairs and responsible government, finishing his examination with a discussion as to why this event has been so controversial.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Question is, How Can There be So Few?

This is a fine book by an accomplished historian. But the French Revolution is perhaps the most controversial subject in history. It is in some sense the quintessential historical event, the one that necessitated the emergence of modern history writing itself. So, how is it possible that audible has only a handful of titles on the subject, and none of the classics on the subject except for Thomas Carlyle's highly idiosyncratic work? Where is Michelet? Tocqueville? Blanc? Taine? Sorel? Jaures? Cobban? Rude? Soboul? Lefebvre? Or what about some of the many recent popular histories of the Revolution and the revolutionaries, such as Scurr's Robespierre or Lawday's Danton? With 100 times as many works on the American Revolution and the Founding Fathers one wonders if there isn't conspiracy afoot directed against the French people!
One might as well as note as well that the English Civil Wars & the Glorious Revolution are even more poorly served. Finally and unbelievably, the revolution of 1848, 1905, and 1917 are subjects about which one can at present learn nothing from the audible catalog. Surely, audible's only audience isn't americans and, more importantly, surely americans interested in history are interested in the subject as such. And it's impossible to understand the American Revolution outside the wider European revolutionary arc that culminates in the Great French Revolution and its aftermath. Get it together audible! But thanks for this one.
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- Amazon Customer

Short but Not Engaging

What would have made The French Revolution better?

This text lacked the details that characterize a good historical recounting of the French Revolution. A description of the base life of the peasant class as well as the Jacobins, Robespierre, and the chaos of the uprising are not brought to life in this narration. I would not recommend this title.


Would you ever listen to anything by William Doyle again?

Perhaps but on a different topic than the French Revolution.


How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator did a passable job of presenting the material


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- Mario

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-04-2009
  • Publisher: Audible Studios