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Origins of the French Revolution

3.56  ·  Rating Details  ·  81 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
This new edition of the acclaimed 1981 study of the origins of the French Revolution remains a provocative and up-to-date synthesis of the important work on this complex topic. Incorporating the wealth of research that has appeared over the last eight years, Doyle presents a detailed analysis of the ancien regime and the struggle for power that followed its disappearance."
Paperback, 246 pages
Published October 6th 1988 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1980)
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53rd out of 241 books — 65 voters
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158th out of 335 books — 43 voters

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David Tveite
Jan 13, 2016 David Tveite rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
Always hard to put a star rating on a book like this, which is very dense and quite dry but also extremely thoroughly researched and convincingly argued. In the end, I just gave it four stars as a baseline and subtracted half a star for every time Doyle uses the word 'vicissitudes.'
Mike Hankins
The French Revolution is one of the most important events in recent western history, and also one of the most misunderstood. In particular, many people try to nail down what caused the Revolution, often assigning simplistic interpretations or affixing blame to certain groups or individuals. William Doyle's brief survey cuts through the myths and exposes the complicated systemic issues that led to the outbreak of revolution, crafting a great starting place for understanding the causes of this wor ...more
Dec 27, 2014 Elsa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, political
I started this with (in retrospect) too little knowledge of the French Revolution, and so I found his style threateningly dense. I think if I had skipped this historiography first chapter, I might have been better off. On the whole it was incredibly insightful and well argued- I kept coming back to it, and making far too many notes! Used this a lot for my EPQ.
Feb 27, 2010 Harpal rated it it was amazing
Great book, for the novice and the well versed. Doyle begins with a review of 20th century historiography of the French Revolution, summarized in about 50 pages. Frankly, I think this is the most useful part of the book and certainly the most bang for your buck. He then goes on to give a narrative account of the revolution, with some chapters decidedly less analytic than others, but I suppose that's standard. Not a quick read, but not a long one either. I don't recommend it as a survey for someo ...more
A very helpful survey. Doyle begins with an overview of the historiography (classic/revisionist/postrevisionist takes on the French Revolution). Then he synthesizes available information on various aspects of French politics and society in the years leading up to the Revolution. In the end, Doyle's account emphasizes contingency and coincidence. The Revolution appears as a sort of accident that surprised the revolutionaries as much as anyone else. The only problem in this book is that it ends at ...more
Anthony Zupancic
Dec 14, 2014 Anthony Zupancic rated it really liked it
Doyle finally put together a revisionist explanation of the origins of the French rev.
Talmadge East
Although not one of my favorites, I did like this book. My main criticism is in the beginning (the first chapter in particular). Doyle wastes too much space talking about previous historians thoughts on the basis for the revolution, but not thoroughly explaining their positions or shifts in position. Once you get past that, which is more of an introduction anyway, the book is quite good.
J.M. Hushour
Feb 21, 2013 J.M. Hushour rated it it was amazing
Succint and badass. A brief three-chapter introduction looks over the wackiness of historiographical traditions on the Rev', as I like to call it. The rest of this tight, savvy work lays out the different social components of the shifizzle and concurrent happenins. Good shit...good shit...
Sep 26, 2008 Pterodactyl rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Doyle gives a good summary of the causes of the French Revolution. Excellent book if you're looking for a survey of the events of 1986-89, or if you're interested in some of the debates that have come up on the history of the Revolution from the 1940's to the 1980's.
Dec 28, 2013 Windsor rated it it was ok
Shelves: napoleonic
Sean Chick
Oct 07, 2012 Sean Chick rated it really liked it
An excellent summation of events and trends that caused to old order to breakdown.
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