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The French Revolution

Hilaire Belloc

Book Overview: 

“It is, for that matter, self-evident that if one community decides in one fashion, another, also sovereign, in the opposite fashion, both cannot be right. Reasoning men have also protested, and justly, against the conception that what a majority in numbers, or even (what is more compelling still) a unanimity of decision in a community may order, may not only be wrong but may be something which that community has no authority to order since, though it possesses a civil and temporal authority, it acts against that ultimate authority which is its own consciousness of right. Men may and do justly protest against the doctrine that a community is incapable of doing deliberate evil; it is as capable of such an action as is an individual. But men nowhere do or can deny that the community acting as it thinks right is ultimately sovereign: there is no alternative to so plain a truth.”

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .have happened had he survived is so fruitful, so entertaining, and so common, and the positive effect of his attitude upon the development of the Revolution after his death was so wide, that to misunderstand Mirabeau is in a large measure to misunderstand the whole movement; and Mirabeau has unfortunately been ill or superficially understood by many among now three generations of historians; for a comprehension of this character is not a matter for research nor for accumulated historic detail, but rather a task for sympathy.

Mirabeau was essentially an artist, with the powers and the frailties which we properly associate with that term: that is, strong emotion appealed to him both internally and externally. He loved to enjoy it himself, he loved to create it in others. He studied, therefore, and was a master of, the material by which such emotion may be created; he himself yielded to strong emotion and sought it where it might be found. It is foolish alike to bel. . . Read More

Community Reviews

The French Revolution (1911), by Hilaire Belloc, is a comparatively short commentary on the great revolutionary experiment between the parliamentary quarrels of 1789 to the execution of Robespierre in 1794. Though the author does not attempt to present a full chronology of events, dwelling mainly on

Belloc strikes again. He is the best and most entertaining writer of history I have ever come across. With him, the beauty of human affairs comes to the fore and makes you realise that human history is a better story than anybody could possibly write themselves.

This is very well written and informative. However, the author, for most of the book, goes into suffocating minute detail on the battles surrounding the French Revolution. I got so bogged down by his overwhelming detail on that particular area that I just couldn't force myself to go on.
But it is wor

If you are like me, the French Revolution is a period in history that can be difficult to understand, seeming to elude logic as the everyday student tries to grasp all the seemingly contradictory facts. For my whole life, whether as a student in my university history classes, or as an embittered mid

Written in 1911 by an Englishman, that being the renown historian Hilaire Belloc, it's prose at times was not the easiest. It was also rather jumpy in places and yet this was a great summary of the characters and events that took place before and during the bloody event. Although I took a class on t

One should strive for a political philosophy more complex than one sentence. But as political mantras go “French Revolution = bad” is about the soundest one could hope for. The 1789 Revolution is the template for all later revolutions; in it can be found in utero all the evils of the present neolibe

That is not the picture on my cover, so unsure if that is the exact book I read. I am a poor judge of this book as I really understood very little of it. It is due to me however. I have not had any prior exposure to this topic. I like the arrangement, how he has a small amount of information on each

This book is a concise overview of the French Revolution. Belloc lays some important foundation that helps one understand the mindset of the public at that time and why the French Revolution was able to take place. One of the interesting facts he brings out is the fact that the Church (read Catholi

An excellent and concise recounting of the events, persons and meaning of the French Revolution. Decidedly from a catholic perspective.

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