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(en) France, Alternative Libertair #222 - History: From the French Revolution Eric Hazan, ed La Fabrique (fr) [machine translation]

Date Thu, 03 Jan 2013 09:34:59 +0200

The author is a linear narrative of events from the beginnings of the years 1787 up to the dramatic conclusion of the French Revolution: the Thermidorian reaction in July 1794. All major events are discussed exhaustively. ---- The writing is simple. Events are depicted vividly and fluid to enjoy reading a book that reads quickly. The author gives voice to the actors of the Revolution, by integrating long pieces of speech. In addition, it attempts to reconcile two histories of the Revolution, one side of the "great men", great speeches, parliamentary struggles, on the other, a history of classes describing their actions and claims and experiences . Unfortunately, this last part is smaller, which creates an imbalance. ---- Finally, it committed clear vision that comes down from the dominant bourgeois historical school, which sees an unfortunate accident on the road to liberal democracy and one of the first manifestations of totalitarianism.

Instead, Hazan shows that if the Revolution is a time when the bourgeoisie establishes its dominance, it is also a time when the masses burst onto the historical stage. His hero is Robespierre.

This approach does not take into account the contribution of historians such as Daniel Guérin or Kropotkin, who developed a critique of the Jacobins which Robespierre was the figurehead. This faction argued at times popular aspirations remains no less favorable to private property, and will do much to state centralism. These positions are a thousand miles of slogans sans-culottes who defended the equality provisions, and direct democracy. These will be the Jacobins who repress the popular movement. The book is still a good way to approach the French Revolution.

Matthijs (AL Montpellier)

• Eric Hazan, A History of the French Revolution, La Fabrique, 2012, 405 p., 22 euros.
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