A NEW WORLD BEGINS
The History of the French Revolution
Not since Simon Schama's Citizens (1988) has a trade book comprehensively chronicled the French Revolution. Popkin brings together a lifetime of study and synthesizes all the latest research - including extensive work on the role of women and people of color in the Revolution. Based on decades of scholarship, A New World Begins will stand as the definitive treatment of the French Revolution.
The French Revolution is also perhaps the most dramatic episode in human history. Popkin takes us from the storming of the Bastille and the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man in 1789, and from the descent of the Reign of Terror (and the execution of Louis XIV) to the rise of Napoleon. His gripping narrative follows the French revolutionaries as they attempted to realize the principle that people "are born and remain free and equal in rights," and he shows how this revolutionary idea led both to incredible progress and murderous conflicts in the span of mere months. He paints vivid portraits of the (in)famous leaders of the Revolution, including Robespierre, Danton, and Mirabeau, as well as lesser-known figures, such as Jean-Marie Goujon, the idealistic Jacobin who told his beloved she would always be second in his mind to the Fatherland, and François Molin, the anti-revolutionary priest who became so accustomed to leading underground religious services that he trembled when he performed mass in public again for the first time. This masterful account is also the first to show how women and violence in France's overseas possessions helped determine the course of the Revolution.
Drawing on a career spent studying the Revolution and synthesizing the last thirty years of historical scholarship, Popkin gives us a history of the French Revolution for our time, when so many of the Revolution's legacies are facing renewed challenges across the world; and we follow the rise of Napoleon out of the ashes of the Reign of Terror.
Jeremy D. Popkin holds the William T. Bryan chair of history at the University of Kentucky. He is the author of many books, including You Are All Free and A Short History of the French Revolution. He lives in Lexington, Kentucky.