14 Best Books About The French Revolution Update 05/2022

The French Revolution caused a lot of trouble across the whole of Europe because of a series of events that still captivate and spark a lot of debate. A lot of people have written about the subject, and many of them use specific methods and approaches to do so. The following is a mix of general and introductory histories, as well as a few more specialized works.

The Oxford History of the French Revolution by William Doyle

It is by far the best single-volume history of the French Revolution. Doyle’s book is good for anyone who wants to learn more about it. Doyle is a good storyteller, even though he doesn’t have the same flair and warmth as Schama. Doyle is engaging, precise, and accurate, and he gives great insights into the material. This makes it worth the money.

Citizens by Simon Schama

This book is called “A Chronicle of the French Revolution.” It covers both the years before and the first few years of the French Revolution. Because the book is so big, it’s not for the casual reader. It’s always interesting and educational, with a true understanding of people and events: the past really comes to life. There is, however, a chance that you might be better off with a shorter and more focused story first.

The French Revolutionary Wars by G. Fremont-Barnes

This small, vivid book gives a good overview of the French Revolutionary Wars through good text, illustrations, and quotations. Even though the book doesn’t go into great detail about the military, it gives a good idea of how important the wars were in history, as well as the main events and a framework for more reading.

Revolutionary Ideas: An Intellectual History of the French Revolution by Israel

This is a big, detailed, and highly praised book by an expert on the Enlightenment. It puts those ideas at the top of the list. For some people, this is a defense of the Enlightenment, and for others, it’s a way to put those thinkers back at the top of the list.

Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution by Ruth Scurr

When it comes to the French Revolution, some people find Robespierre the most interesting person in the whole thing. Scurr’s biography is a good look at his life and how quickly things went wrong for him. If you only think of Robespierre as the killer tyrant at the end, you should see what he was like before the mysterious change.

The French Revolution 1789 – 1799 by Peter McPhee

This book is for students who are at an early or intermediate level. It gives basic information about both the revolution and the history that has come along with it. The book talks about the main points of debate, as well as the “facts,” and it’s very cheap.

The Origins of the French Revolution by William Doyle

Focusing on the fall of the “ancien regime,” Doyle gives an explanation and a broad look at recent history, which has many different ideas about what happened. With or without Doyle’s Oxford History, this is a very well-balanced work that can be used for both.

The French Revolution Sourcebook edited by John Hardman

There are many sources in history, and anyone who wants to learn more should look at at least a few of them. To start, this book has a lot of annotated books about important things and people.

French Society in Revolution 1789 – 1799 by David Andress

This book was written to counteract what the author thought was too much focus on political history. It looks at how society changed in France in the last decade of the eighteenth century. Indeed, “change” is too limited a word to describe the social and cultural turmoil of the time, and Andress’ book is a fair look at it.

The Terror in the French Revolution by Hugh Gough

Gough looks at how the Terror, one of the bloodiest periods in European history, turned into violence and dictatorship because people wanted to be free and equal. It’s a more specific book, but because the guillotine, a machine made famous by the Terror, still dominates the more morbid parts of our culture, it’s a good one to read.

The Terror: Civil War in the French Revolution by David Andress

Here, Andress does an in-depth study of the Terror. It was when the French Revolution went horribly wrong, and this book is all about it. Isn’t it important to know what happened after the revolution? This book will set you up to read some of the (often weird) theories that have been put forward by people who read this book.

From Deficit to Deluge: The Origins of the French Revolution by T. E. Kaiser

On this list, you’ll find Doyle’s book about the beginnings of the revolution. If you want to move on to the modern state of history, this collection of essays is ideal. Each addresses a different “cause.” It’s not all about money, but if there’s ever an event where learning about the financials pays off, it might be worth it to read up on it.

The Giant of the French Revolution By David Lawday

Even though King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette are the most well-known names associated with the French Revolution, George-Jacques Danton was a major force behind it. Author David Lawday has written a new biography of Danton for the first time in more than 40 years. Danton was a “giant” of the French Revolution. Danton was there when people stormed the Bastille, and he was there when the government tried to stop them. Afterwards, he was named Minister of Justice. His speech was so passionate that it had to be cut short by the court because it didn’t want him to “rally the crowd in his favor.”

Marie Antoinette’s Confidante By Geri Walton

It was during the bloodiest time of the French Revolution that Marie Antoinette, the young queen of France, went to the guillotine. She is one of the most well-known and infamous people to go to death row. Marie Thérèse, the Princess of Lamballe and one of Marie Antoinette’s closest confidants, was the subject of a book by Geri Walton. Walton goes beyond “Let them eat cake” and Sofia Coppola’s pop-infused biopic to show a well-researched and vividly-captured portrait of the last days of the French monarchy in her book. During one of the most tumultuous times in modern history, there were bloody rebellions and political upheaval, as well as daring escape attempts and lavish living. This is a story about all of these things.

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