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Massacre: The Life and Death of the Paris…
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Massacre: The Life and Death of the Paris Commune (2014)

by John M. Merriman

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The Paris Commune uprising of 1871 was a tectonic event in modern European history. It was the end of one era - the revolutions of the 19th century - and the beginning of another - the mass slaughter of civilians as was seen during the bloodier 20th century. In this account Yale History professor gives a blow by blow account of that slaughter based entirely on historical documents and quotes. Merriman is a professional historian and the material is impeccable but he also ties it together into a narrative of sorts. It's not as strong story wise as his last book, The Dynamite Club which focused on a single person, rather this is a chaotic event with a large cast who seem to die almost as fast as they appear. Merriman has always been an unapologetic fan of the Communards and the book has to be read from that perspective, although that is the standard view in France today. For the first time in history, the working class revolted and set up their own government. A government which was far ahead of its time in terms of social welfare. The seeds of those ideas didn't die and eventually became unions and then political parties who ultimately prevailed. ( )
2 vote Stbalbach | Jan 7, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0465020178, Hardcover)

The Paris Commune lasted for only 64 days in 1871, but during that short time it gave rise to some of the grandest political dreams of the nineteenth century—before culminating in horrific violence.

Following the disastrous French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, hungry and politically disenchanted Parisians took up arms against their government in the name of a more just society. They expelled loyalists and soldiers and erected barricades in the streets. In Massacre, John Merriman introduces a cast of inimitable Communards—from les pétroleuses (female incendiaries) to the painter Gustave Courbet—whose idealism fueled a revolution. And he vividly recreates the Commune’s chaotic and bloody end when 30,000 troops stormed the city, burning half of Paris and executing captured Communards en masse.

A stirring evocation of the spring when Paris was ablaze with cannon fire and its citizens were their own masters, Massacre reveals how the indomitable spirit of the Commune shook the very foundations of Europe.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:31 -0400)

"The Paris Commune lasted for only 64 days in 1871, but during that short time it gave rise to some of the grandest political dreams of the nineteenth century--before culminating in horrific violence. Following the disastrous French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, hungry and politically disenchanted Parisians took up arms against their government in the name of a more just society. They expelled loyalists and soldiers and erected barricades in the streets. In Massacre, John Merriman introduces a cast of inimitable Communards--from les petroleuses (female incendiaries) to the painter Gustave Courbet--whose idealism fueled a revolution. And he vividly recreates the Commune's chaotic and bloody end when 30,000 troops stormed the city, burning half of Paris and executing captured Communards en masse. A stirring evocation of the spring when Paris was ablaze with cannon fire and its citizens were their own masters, Massacre reveals how the indomitable spirit of the Commune shook the very foundations of Europe"--… (more)

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