The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition)

ISBN : 9780198840077

William Doyle
168 Pages
111 x 174 mm
Pub date
Nov 2019
Very Short Introductions


To purchase this item, please add the product to your basket and click the Shopping basket link above to view your basket and continue.

Send mail
  • Chronicles the unfolding events of the French Revolution, from the quarrels of the first revolutionaries with the king, to the Terror, to the rise of Napoleon
  • Explores why the French Revolution happened, and what factors led up to the initial outburst of violence
  • Considers how and why the revolution destroyed the age-old cultural, institutional and social structures in France

New to this Edition:

  • Highlights the main developments in the field since the first edition
  • Includes a fully updated Further Reading section

The French Revolution is a time of history made familiar from Dickens, Baroness Orczy, and Tolstoy, as well as the legends of let them eat cake, and tricolours. Beginning in 1789, this period of extreme political and social unrest saw the end of the French monarchy, the death of an extraordinary number of people beneath the guillotine's blade during the Terror, and the rise of Napoleon, as well as far reaching consequences still with us today, such as the enduring ideology of human rights, and decimalization.
In this Very Short Introduction, William Doyle introduces the French old regime and considers how and why it collapsed. Retelling the unfolding events of the revolution, he analyses why the revolutionaries quarrelled with the king, the church and the rest of Europe, why this produced Terror, and finally how it accomplished rule by a general. Doyle also discusses how and why the revolution destroyed the age-old cultural, institutional, and social structures in France and beyond. In this new edition, Doyle includes new sections highlighting the main developments in the field since the first edition, before exploring the legacy of the revolution in the form of rationality in public affairs and responsible government.


1: Echoes
2: Why it happened
3: How it happened
4: What it ended
5: What it started
6: Where it stands
Timeline: Important dates of the French Revolution
The Revolutionary Calendar
Further reading

About the author: 

William Doyle is Emeritus Professor of History and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Bristol. His recent books include Aristocracy and its Enemies in the Age of Revolution (2009), Napoleon Bonaparte (2015), and France and the Age of Revolution: Regimes Old and New from Louis XIV to Napoleon Bonaparte (2017). He is the editor of The Oxford Handbook of the Ancien Régime (2011).

The price listed on this page is the recommended retail price for Japan. When a discount is applied, the discounted price is indicated as “Discount price”. Prices are subject to change without notice.