HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French…
Loading...

Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution (2006)

by Ruth Scurr

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
283661,522 (3.78)12
None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 12 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Excellent. shows the strength of biography for getting across complexities of history. R's life makes for a clear narrative and a sense of who's on which side in the swirling tide.We learn also that R was no villain but pretty paranoid; he voted for abolition of the death penalty in the early days, but later deemed it necessary for dealing with "internal enemies". We also see the noose gradually tighteningfom the Declaration of rights which entailed an end to torture and cruel punishments until the climax where no evidence is required to condemn someone and there is no defence, no appel, and no punishment other than death. What is not clear is how this consummate political operator reached the pinnacle of absolute power, only to be overthrown within the year. seems absolute power is only relative. Score writes in vivid form with mastery of facts and background; slight flaw at the end where she dramatises R's scream from the scaffold and in the Coda from Wordsworth's Prelude, where she shows how mistaken W was about R - but this just leaves the reader with a So What? ( )
  vguy | Jun 11, 2015 |
A well written and fascinating account of the life and career of this most famous and infamous of French revolutionaries. Robespierre is a fascinating man of contrasts. For much of his life, certainly before the Revolution and for a couple of years after the fall of the Bastille, his positive points predominate - a passion for justice and for the plight of the poor, as shown by his advocacy of the poor in many court cases when he was a simple lawyer in Arras, and by many of his speeches afterwards; and his radical and uncompromising democracy, an advanced phenomenon in the 18th century. It is only really from 1792, the fall of the monarchy and the suspension of the 1793 constitution before it ever came into effect, that we see the awful side of Robespierre - his singlemindedness becoming a complete personal identification of his own views with the interests of the Revolution, and an utterly and chillingly sincere belief therefore that those opposed to himself and, ipso facto, the Revolution must die - the title of this biography "Fatal Purity" is well chosen. The story from the arrest of the Girondins in June 1793 is the story of the fall and massacring of one faction after another until Robespierre's own fall and death in late July 1794. There are some sickening, horrific and tragic stories along the way, especially those of the prison massacres of September 1792, the separating of Marie Antoinette from her children, the execution of Camille Desmoulins's wife and the many poor and working class people who fell under the guillotine's blade - it was by no means aristocrats who were its most common victims as is commonly supposed. A great and tragic read. ( )
2 vote john257hopper | Oct 27, 2008 |
Reviewed by Hilary Mantel in the LRB here:

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n08/mant01_.html
This review has been flagged by multiple users as abuse of the terms of service and is no longer displayed (show).
1 vote | chrisbrooke | Dec 28, 2007 |
4256 Fatal Purity Robespierre and the French Revolution, by Ruth Scurr (read 10 Jan 2007). Robespierre was born May 6, 1758, in Arras, France and had his head cut off on July 28, 1794, and is a figure of high interest. I read a biography of him on Aug 7, 1975 and a 1927 biography of him on 8 Mar 2006. But when I saw this new biography I felt I had to read it. It is well-written, and aims to be balanced. But the facts show Robespierre in power was an awful person who felt he was always right. This book tells his story well, and it is extremely riveting when relating the time from Sept 1793 to July 28, 1794. Periodically one needs to read about the astounding event which was the French Revolution. Putting "French Revolution" in my searcher here is what I get:
135 Scaramouche A Romance of the French Revolution, by Rafael Sabatini (read Dec 1943)
1038 History of the French Revolution, by Thomas Carlyle (read 27 Dec 1969)
1330 The French Revolution of 1830, by David H. Pinkney (read 3 May 1975)
1694 The Days of the French Revolution, by Christopher Hibbert (read 14 Feb 1982)
1948 The French Revolution and the Church, by John McManners (read 13 Oct 1985)
2153 Toward the French Revolution: Europe and America in the Eighteenth Century World, by Louis Gottschalk and Donald Lach (read 11 July 1988)
2265 Words of Fire, Deeds of Blood: The Mob, the Monarchy, and the French Revolution, by Olivier Bernier (read 23 Jan 1990)
2512 Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution, by Simon Schama (read 19 Jun 1993)
2864 Leaders of the French Revolution, by J. M. Thompson (read 21 Apr 1996)
4200 Earthly Powers The Clash of Religion and Politics in Europe from the French Revolution to the Great War, by Michael Burleigh (read 22 Aug 2006)
4256 Fatal Purity Robespierre and the French Revolution, by Ruth Scurr (read 10 Jan 2007) ( )
  Schmerguls | Oct 28, 2007 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Present historic: Carlyle, Robespierre and the French Revolution

Ruth Scurr has done an enormous service by producing a collection of extracts from Thomas Carlyle’s powerful narrative The French Revolution to add to her earlier biography of Robespierre, in which she uncovers something of the character and motivations of a man who is more usually hidden in the “blood red mist” of the Terror. The portrait she offers is a generally sympathetic one that aims to present an objective picture of Robespierre and restore him to his rightful place in history as a man who helped to shape modern political institutions—albeit by a means of a revolutionary process that is entirely unpalatable to the present-day liberals that benefit from it. As Scurr writes, “To understand him is to begin to understand the French Revolution.”

Part 1 - http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2010/...

Part 2 - http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2010/...
 
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Information from the Polish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
No backdrop can match the French Revolution.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805082611, Paperback)

"Judicious, balanced, and admirably clear at every point. This is quite the calmest and least abusive history of the Revolution you will ever read."
--Hilary Mantel, London Review of Books

Since his execution by guillotine in July 1794, Maximilien Robespierre has been contested terrain for historians. Was he a bloodthirsty charlatan or the only true defender of revolutionary ideals? The first modern dictator or the earliest democrat? Was his extreme moralism a heroic virtue or a ruinous flaw?

Against the dramatic backdrop of the French Revolution, historian Ruth Scurr tracks Robespierre's evolution from provincial lawyer to devastatingly efficient revolutionary leader, righteous and paranoid in equal measure. She explores his reformist zeal, his role in the fall of the monarchy, his passionate attempts to design a modern republic, even his extraordinary effort to found a perfect religion. And she follows him into the Terror, as the former death- penalty opponent makes summary execution the order of the day, himself falling victim to the violence at the age of thirty-six.

Written with epic sweep, full of nuance and insight, Fatal Purity is a fascinating portrait of a man who identified with the Revolution to the point of madness, and in so doing changed the course of history.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:17 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"Since the day of his death in July 1794, Maximilien Robespierre has been contested terrain for biographers and historians, at once the most notorious leader of the French Revolution and the least comprehensible. Was he a bloodthirsty charlatan or the only true defender of revolutionary ideals? Was his extreme moralism - he was known as "the Incorruptible" - a heroic virtue or a flaw that ruined him and everyone around him? Was he the first modern dictator or the earliest democrat? And how did this unprepossessing bourgeois figure come to embody the most flamboyant and radical of political movements?" "Against the dramatic backdrop of the French Revolution, historian Ruth Scurr follows the trajectory of Robespierre's paradoxical life, from his modest beginnings as a provincial lawyer opposed to repressive authority and the death penalty to his meteoric rise in Paris politics as a devastatingly efficient revolutionary leader, righteous and paranoid in equal measure. She explores his reformist zeal, his role in the trial of the king and the fall of the monarchy, his passionate attempt to design a modern republic, even his extraordinary effort to found a perfect religion. And she follows him into the depths of the Terror, as he makes summary execution the order of the day, himself falling victim to the violence at the age of thirty-six."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.78)
0.5
1 1
1.5
2 5
2.5
3 10
3.5
4 18
4.5 6
5 9

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 138,085,801 books! | Top bar: Always visible