This book fills a gap in the literature on the French Revolution, and offers a synthesis which brings together the fruits of two generations' research in the field of French rural and agrarian history. The contention of Georges Lefebvre (the greatest authority on eighteenth-century rural history) that the peasantry occupied the centre-stage during the early years of the Revolution is vindicated with the support of fresh evidence culled from local and national archives, unpublished theses and little-known printed sources. Lefebvre's subsidiary argument, that peasant participation in the Revolution ran counter to its main capitalist thrust, receives a more qualified endorsement. The hook also offers a comprehensive survey of the fortunes of country dwellers from the end of the ancien régime until the advent of Napoleon. Chapters are arranged both chronologically and thematically to provide a complete history of the Revolution as experienced at 'grass-roots'.
Reviews & endorsements
'While modestly claiming that his work is not based on original research, this book renews our understanding of the subject. With an acute sense of region, a preoccupation with politics and culture, the author continues a chronological and thematic approach which is stimulating as well as informative. In a conclusion, boldly termed 'the balance sheet', he examines the complexities of this vast experience with perceptive shrewdness. This is undoubtedly the finest book to appear, so far, in English, in these busy commemorative years of the Revolution.' Douglas Johnson, The Times Educational Supplement
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- Date Published: October 1988
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521337168
- length: 328 pages
- dimensions: 228 x 152 x 28 mm
- weight: 0.54kg
- contains: 5 b/w illus. 17 maps 6 tables
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
List of illustrations
List of tables
List of abbreviations
1. Rural France in the eighteenth century
2. The crisis of the late 'ancien régime'
3. 1789: between hope and fear
4. Dismantling the seigneurial regime
5. The land settlement: collective rights versus agrarian individualism
6. The administrative revolution
7. Terror and counter-terror
8. The balance-sheet
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