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Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution

by Simon Schama

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,681323,977 (4.03)126
This award-winning, worldwide bestseller is an authoritative social, cultural and narrative history of the French Revolution.
  1. 00
    Murder in Aubagne: Lynching, Law, and Justice during the French Revolution by D.M.G. Sutherland (Luchtpint)
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    The Guillotine and the Terror by Daniel Arasse (Luchtpint)
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    Last Letters: Prisons and Prisoners of the French Revolution 1793-1794 by Olivier Blanc (Luchtpint)
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    Twelve Who Ruled : The Year of the Terror in the French Revolution by R. R. Palmer (Luchtpint)
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    Orphans on the Earth: Girondin Fugitives from the Terror, 1793-94 by Bette W. Oliver (Luchtpint)
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    Vrijheid, gelijkheid en de broederschap van Kain en Abel: Getuigenissen en documenten over de Franse Revolutie by E.M. Janssen Perio (Luchtpint)
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    The Terror: The Shadow of the Guillotine: France 1792-1794 by Graeme Fife (Luchtpint)
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    The Jacobin Republic Under Fire: The Federalist Revolt in the French Revolution by Paul R. Hanson (Luchtpint)
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    A New Dictionary of the French Revolution by Richard Ballard (Luchtpint)
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    The Unseen Terror: The French Revolution in the Provinces by Richard Ballard (Luchtpint)
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    Liberty: The Lives and Times of Six Women in Revolutionary France by Lucy Moore (PaolaF)
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    The Sans-Culottes by Albert Soboul (asukamaxwell)
  14. 11
    The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture In the Golden Age by Simon Schama (John_Vaughan)
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    Godfather of the Revolution: The Life of Philippe Egalite, Duc d'Orleans by Tom Ambrose (Luchtpint)
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    The Terror: The Merciless War for Freedom in Revolutionary France by David Andress (Luchtpint)
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    The Giant of the French Revolution: Danton, A Life by David Lawday (Luchtpint)
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    Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution by Ruth Scurr (Luchtpint)
  19. 01
    Ninety-Three by Victor Hugo (rebeccanyc)
    rebeccanyc: Hugo's work is largely fictional; Schama presents a fascinating historical and cultural history of the French revolution.
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(see all 20 recommendations)


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» See also 126 mentions

English (30)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (32)
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
One of the most enjoyable history books I have ever read, although I have heard rumours that Schama may not be one hundred per cent correct with some of the history. Citizens covers the French Revolution, from the spark to its place in history and involving all the major figures, including the great Talleyrand, surely everyone’s favorite historical figure. ( )
  MiaCulpa | Sep 27, 2020 |
An exceptionally well-written an accurate history. Schama's incredibly deep knowledge and understanding of the events and key figures of the French Revolution is translated into a colorful and enlightening epic. One gets the feeling that the author's insights have led you to a balanced understanding of the reasons for how and why those tumultuous events unfolded the way they did. Although the Terror has traditionally been portrayed as mob violence, Citizens gives a more insightful perspective, taking into account the treason of the French monarchy, the impending threat of invasion by the monarchies of other countries, and the royalist uprisings outside of Paris intended to thwart the rise of liberty in France. It was not surprising that desperate and ruthless measures were taken to protect that which the people had fought so hard to achieve.
A wonderfully enjoyable read.

( )
  MatthewFrend | Jun 30, 2020 |
Wow! Schama is quite a writer, and the French Revolution gives him a lot of good material to work with. Schama's thesis is that brutal violence was not just an unfortunate aspect of the Revolution but lay at its very heart. With the caveat that Schama sometimes addresses adult themes (like, in this book, the sexual slanders made against Marie-Antoinette), I give his work an enthusiastic recommendation. ( )
  cpg | May 16, 2020 |
I bought this book when it came out in 1988 for the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution. It has patiently sat on my shelves all these years and it was worth the wait. It sad to think that I may never get to read some of the books I've bought this year. ( )
  Westwest | Oct 31, 2019 |
A lot of the book is a lead-up to the Revolution proper, which Schama argues had major continuities with rationalizing reforms attempted but not fully carried out beforehand. Reading it now, my main takeaway was how fluid the situation was; it wasn’t clear what would stick and what would fail, and people could rise and fall and rise again, in ways that seem a little too much like the present situation for my comfort. ( )
  rivkat | Aug 16, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
Recumbent readers beware. Those who like to do their poring lying down will scarcely rush to take up this book. It is monumental. Once hefted, however, and well balanced on lap, knee or chest, ''Citizens'' will prove hard to put down. Provocative and stylish, Simon Schama's account of the first few years of the great Revolution in France, and of the decades that led up to it, is thoughtful, informed and profoundly revisionist. Mr. Schama, who teaches history at Harvard University, has committed other large and readable tomes. But nowhere more than here does he challenge enduring prejudices with prejudices of his own. His arguments, though, are embedded in narrative. Above all, he tells a story, and he tells it well.
added by John_Vaughan | editNY Times, Eugen Weber (Jul 19, 1989)

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German translation has title "Der zaudernde Citoyen : Rückschritt und Fortschritt in der Französischen Revolution"; Hungarian translation has title "Polgártársak : A francia forradalom krónikája"
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This award-winning, worldwide bestseller is an authoritative social, cultural and narrative history of the French Revolution.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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