by Christopher Hibbert
Another brief book review by Tony Gerard
I read this book with the goal of making myself more familiar with the conditions in France that lead up to the conflict between France and England and to learn more about what conditions in France were like throughout that period. The book covers the period from 1789 to 1795 with a concluding chapter on the advent of Bonaparte.
This book does a pretty good job of setting out events in chronological order, and it does so in a readable enough manner. However, it doesn’t go into any real detail on what conditions and life were like at the time except in the most basic sense.
I do have one big problem with the book. While the introduction says that “it is written for the general reader unfamiliar with the subject (that’s me), rather than the student”, Hibbert seems to assume that the non-student is somehow completely familiar with the various French political factions at the time. Girondins, Enrages, Hebertists, Indulgents, Montagnards and Sans- Coulottes all appear and reappear throughout the narrative generally with little or no accompanying explanation of who they are, where they came from or what they want. An index/glossary of who/what/why these various groups were would have sure been handy. Along that same line some formerly mentioned player will often reappear in the narrative. There as so many different names it was often hard for me to remember who was who. An index of important individuals would have been a wonderful thing to include also.