Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Fall Of Paris” as Want to Read:
The Fall Of Paris
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Fall Of Paris

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  194 ratings  ·  24 reviews
From Alistair Horne's grand trilogy on French history—two magisterial works now back in print

In 1870, Paris was the center of Europe, the font of culture, fashion, and invention. Ten months later Paris had been broken by a long Prussian siege, its starving citizens reduced to eating dogs, cats, and rats, and France had been forced to accept the humiliating surrender term
Published October 1st 1965 by Macmillan
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Fall Of Paris, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Fall Of Paris

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 494)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
When I think about the Paris Commune, I feel a vague sort of dread. I remember visiting the famous Père Lachaise Cemetery for the first time and seeing the wall—the infamous Communards' Wall—in front of which nearly a hundred fifty insurrectionists were executed by firing squad. I was in awe of how close this distant and horrible chapter in the history of Western civilization had suddenly become—and how prosaic it all seemed: a simple stone wall with an engraved plaque hidden away in this quiet ...more

Good history should read like a good novel. This book certainly does that.

It is a long time since I read this exciting book, but little did I know that one day I should make unexpected use of it.

One of the characters described in the narrative is Frederick Reitlinger, who escaped from besieged Paris in a hot air balloon. I have discovered that this gentleman, who was sent by Thierry to plead with the English and the Austrians to intercede with the Germans to relieve their grip on Paris, w
William Dearth
I gave this book five stars not so much for the quality of the writing but for the content. This is a very sad and disturbing account of a social catastrophe that rivals the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the 900 day siege of Leningrad starting in 1941. The role of women is particularly interesting in the scope of their brutality that reminds one of women's role during the French Reign of Terror in 1793.

This book does qualify as a "page turner" but for me, Horne's style is a touch awkward at tim
Oct 18, 2008 Alison is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
My love of Paris lead me to this beat up paperback at the English bookstore in Toulouse...
Currently reading. A nice readable history of Paris. I'm really enjoying this.
Tim Robinson
In the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, Bismarck and Moltke inflicted a resounding defeat on the French and changed the balance of power in Europe forever. They created a united Germany complete with the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine freshly seized from France. But it was not the walkover that it sometimes seems. The French had their chances and under better leadership, they might have severed the Prussian supply lines or broken out of the siege of Paris.

The siege was a long one and the rich dine
Jim Pfluecke
I really enjoyed this book. Taking place during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, this book follows events in Paris (with an introductory chapter and a quick outline of the course of the war) during the war and the first few months of peace. It is a narrative with some analysis and does not claim to be a definitive work on either the war or the Paris Commune.

What makes it good is the authors writing, qoutes from the participants, and the "story" itself. The first half of the book covers the Pruss
Tyler Lees
A long read, and a rather different topic, but well-written and fascinating. This book does not tell the story of the Franco-Prussian War; rather, it tells the story of Paris during the disastrous war and the subsequent devastating rise of the Commune and its suppression, and ultimately provides a survey of a dark episode that shapes France even today.

This book is the first in a trilogy, covering three crucial years in the formation of modern France and modern Europe: 1940 and the defeat of Fran
A history of one of the first western socialist/democratic experiments (which quickly went awry) in the late 19th Century. Fascinating study... many of our modern ideas about democracy and implementation of social policies came out of the Paris Commune of 1870 (separation of church and state, free education, women's rights, gender equality, and so forth). Anyone interested in the history of human rights should read this book (first published in 1965).
“The Fall of Paris” while focused on the long siege of Paris in the winter of 1870-1871, then on the rise and fall of the Commune which resulted, is decidedly Francocentric with little attention paid to the Prussians or to the general balance of power in Europe. Setting the mood and descriptions of quotidian detail seem to be Horne's primary objective, followed closely by a brisk, almost novelized story, with analysis a distant third.
Consequently, it is an excellent introduction to the subject a
This history of the Siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War and the months of the Paris Commune is a fascinating read. I had never heard about the Commune, until I visited Paris last Summer. I was shocked to find out that there had been a Socialist/Anarchist Revolution in Paris in 1871 and had to know more about it. I looked around and this seemed to be the only English-language book I could find on the topic.

This history does a good job of making the story as readable as any novel and the
Una Dimitrijevic
A very enjoyable historical text retracing the events leading up to the Prussian siege of Paris, the siege itself and the civil war that followed. Told through its key players, major events and attention-grabbing anecdotes. My personal favourite, that of a chicken, the sole survivor of its kind of the siege during which all available animals (rats, dogs, zoo elephants...) were gobbled up. Her name was Una, she was much-loved by her owner and is now stuffed in a display-case somewhere in England. ...more
The first part, The Siege, was a notch below of what I am used to from Mr. Horne; it is a good historical narrative of the Prussian conquest of France in 1870. The second part, The Commune, is a dramatic telling of the Parisian citizen's short lived attempt to govern the city sans central French authority; of course, civil war breaks out and Paris burns.
A thorough and readable account of the Franco-Prussian War, the siege of Paris and the Paris Commune. Horne adds an interesting element by frequently considering the experiences of the British and American communities in Paris at the time, and plenty of anecdotal evidence enlivens the wider framework. A good start, I should think.
Great at times, very detailed and fascinating (during the siege), but dense and hard to follow at others (the commune). I love the descriptions of personalities and quirky events, but I occasionally can't keep track of them. I have given up, but perhaps not definitively.
Antonio Yaniz
Nov 26, 2007 Antonio Yaniz rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History Buffs
For anyone who is a history buff or a Francophile, this masterfully written account of the darkest days in French History really grabs you in and involves you in one of the greatest humiliations ever to be-fall a modern industrialized nation.
Elizabeth Quinn
I read this as research for my novel, My Phantom: The Memoir of Christine Daaé. A terrific retelling of the terrible siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian war and the civil war that followed
The first of a trilogy examining the Franco-German conflicts of 1870-71, 1914-18, and 1939-40, each one focused on a single event. Historical writing at its very best.
Lauren Albert
A fascinating narrative about the Siege and the Commune and the intimate bond between the first and the second. Law of unintended consequences.
Horne is a really good historian. Also you can read about how Parisians ate their zoo animals during the 1870 siege.
Thomas A Wiebe

Source: Wiebe Library.
It was a bit dry at times, but I learned a lot about the Siege and the Commune. For example, when the government forces took over the whole city, revenge was brutal: between 20 and 30,000 killed within weeks! Also, any kind of hope for a constitutional monarchy died on the barricades. I also enjoyed the local geography since I reside near Paris.
A great old-school historian, Horne's book is richly detailed with first-hand accounts of the events, and remains relatively 'objective' to the conflicting forces, motives, etc. that drove France in 1870/71. I'd highly recommend Horne's "Savage War for Peace" (re: Algerian independence) for anyone interested.
Charles marked it as to-read
Nov 24, 2014
GT marked it as to-read
Nov 23, 2014
Chia Choon kiat william
Chia Choon kiat william marked it as to-read
Nov 21, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 16 17 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Franco-Prussian War: The German Conquest of France in 1870-1871
  • Strange Defeat
  • The Boer War
  • The Collapse of the Third Republic
  • Queen Victoria's Little Wars
  • Paris: After the Liberation 1944-1949
  • Moscow 1812: Napoleon's Fatal March
  • 1914: The Days of Hope
  • The Crimean War
  • The Great Siege: Malta 1565
  • The Washing of the Spears: A History of the Rise of the Zulu Nation Under Shaka and Its Fall in the Zulu War of 1879
  • The Great Mutiny: India 1857
  • Paris: The Secret History
  • Vienna 1814: How the Conquerors of Napoleon Made War, Peace, and Love at the Congress of Vienna
  • The Class Struggles in France, 1848-1850
  • Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris
  • The Thirty Years War: Europe's Tragedy
  • The Force of Destiny: A History of Italy Since 1796
Alistair Horne is a preeminent historian, journalist and Oxford fellow who has written seventeen books, many of them on the military history of France.He has won the following awards: Hawthornden Prize, 1963, for The Price of Glory; Yorkshire Post Book of the Year Prize and Wolfson Literary Award, both 1978, both for A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962; French Légion d'Honneur, 1993, for work ...more
More about Alistair Horne...
The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916 Seven Ages of Paris A Savage War of Peace: Algeria, 1954-1962 To Lose a Battle: France 1940 La Belle France

Share This Book