Toni's Reviews > Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution

Fatal Purity by Ruth Scurr
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Feb 27, 2012

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Read in February, 2012

So, the Catherine the Great biography I read a while back made me realize that I know jack about the French revolution. (Catherine had wanted to leave her mark as a liberalizing reformer, until the Revolution came along and caused her to put the ix-nay on all of those pretty ideas.) And then with this bewildering political moment we're living through, I've been thinking about the notion of ideological purity, of this need that the fringes of both sides of the political spectrum seem to have, of taking their ideals to their logical ends. And, really, what a big mess this has the potential to make (see: the Reign of Terror). Which is a bit of a long wind-up for how I came to this book -- partly in search of a history primer, partly in search of something intelligent and maybe thought-provoking on the subject of political extremism generally. This was mostly fine for the former, but disappointed on the latter.
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