The 25 years between the onset of the French Revolution in 1789 and the Bourbon Restoration after Napoleon in 1814 is an astonishing period in world history. This era shook the foundations of the old world and marked a permanent shift for politics, religion, and society - not just for France, but for all of Europe. An account of the events alone reads like something out of a thrilling novel:
Living the French Revolution and the Age of Napoleon is your opportunity to learn the full story of this captivating period. Taught by Dr. Suzanne M. Desan, these 48 exciting lectures give you a broad and comprehensive survey of one of the most important eras in modern history.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2013 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2013 The Great Courses
25 hours of revisionist history. This course is an apologia for the Reign of Terror, which was minimized, excused, and discussed only in brief generalities. Every event or opinion that wasn't pro-revolution, from historic to her research, Dr. Desan tries to delegitimatize with disparaging adjectives or caveats. For example, when 15 revolutionaries were killed, Dr. Desan describes it as a heinous crime committed by fanatics who wanted to impose another absolute monarch; when conducting her research, she met a medical doctor who wasn't pro-Revolution. He was described as an ultra-conservative who hated immigrants.
I didn't expect the book to be objective, but I was hoping for a less politicized account and most of all, I was hoping to learn about the actual Revolution. Instead, I learned how slaves felt oppressed in Haiti (2 chapters) and how women handled divorce in a two year period (1 chapter), and also that Napoleon was a fool and a terrible general (6 chapters). From this Course, one wonders why we remember Napoleon at all. Dr. Desan is a testament to what's wrong with higher learning in America.
Yes, but only because of Audible's return policy.
The narrator (Dr. Desan) used terms like "turds" and relied on modern tropes to describe history. She exercised the informal vocabulary of someone inebriated talking to friends. My spouse heard me listening and thought it was a student podcast. Dr. Desan's lexicon and informality were worse than her frequent stuttering.
Enough frustration to write my first review after 50+ audiobooks.
No B.S. reviews. I'll never soft-pedal bad writing or inept narration.
A most interesting and educational audiobook. I'm glad I bought it, and glad I listened to it.
Three negatives, however. One, professor Desan's reading is a bit stressed, and it gets wearing by the end of the lecture series. Two, the lectures are not in strict chronological order, so it's frequently difficult to tell what year is being discussed. To be fair, however, the lectures are organized by topic, which is why this is true, but she rarely re-references the year, so it's often difficult to figure out what year it is. Three, the lectures come across as somehow impersonal, so although there are frequent discussions about people's attitudes and difficulties, I didn't come away with a vibrant visualization of these.
At the end of the day, this is a good overview of a complex and important part of world history, and Professor Desan's wrap-up and discussion of the repercussions and influence of the French Revolution is excellent.
Finally, if you want to listen to it, buy some credits and get it at discount.
My daughter went to France to write a master's thesis on the French Revolution so I decided to learn about it. I have always been a student of our revolution. This is an expansive story of the details of the revolution and the rise of Napoleon; thank God we had the guidance of the British parliamentary system to form our own government. The French were lost, confused and seemed to have no guiding principles. They fought against the church as much as the monarchy. They tore themselves apart only to be united by an authoritarian conquerer in Napoleon. This is a lesson on how not to have a revolution !
It is a thorough treatment of a pivotal period of Western Civilization.
The entry of Napoleon into Paris after leaving Egypt
At 24 hours it takes quite a few sessions.
Excellent historian presentation
love audio books - Anglophile
Reading Dicken's "A Tale of Two Cities" in high school was my introduction to the French Revolution. I remember my teacher telling us that the 52 prisoners were symbolic of the 52 cards in a pack of playing cards. This series of lectures led me to Michelle Moran's book on Madame Tussaud, which is also available on audible. Moran's book ties in nicely. I also found a book on amazon, "The Lost King," about the final identification of Louis XVII, the dauphin, through recent DNA identification using his heart. So many intriguing mysteries. I wonder if anyone has identified all the secret passages and rooms in Versailles. Sadly, the Tuileries Palace was demolished in 1883. I'd love to visit Paris to visit the graves and remaining landmarks from this era.
I did not know much about the French Revolution so I purchased this course. It is a lot! There is no way that I will remember all that was covered but I certainly know much more than I did previously. I am very pleased with this purchase.
What a wonderful explosion of knowledge this has been for me. Thank you Professor Desan. Your knowledge and compilation of events is brilliant. I just could not put it down, and completed listening to it in two days. You have whetted my appetite for more. Thank you, again.
Well paced, highly intelligent, full of fascinating anecdotes - makes the time and period alive and vibrant. Enjoyed this enormously, as I had a very tenuous grasp on the revolution prior to this series. This is the revolution that makes all subsequent revolutions (including the Russian) comprehensible...the pattern was established first in France. War..poverty..famine..revolution...extreme idealism...turning to the dark side...puritanism...repression...terror...dictatorship. The lecturer know her materials and how to maintain interest - and she speaks French really well. Her vocal tones are not always as dramatic as some other lecturers - but you will find that you are so invested in the situation and the story that it is never a problem. Highly recommended.
I've been looking for an English language history of the French Revolution and I'm very happy to have found this course.
What I wanted was an overview of what happened during the french revolution and the Napoleonic wars and this course was almost exactly what I was looking for.
I might suggest that they split the topics into two courses, one for Napoleon and one for the revolution as even with something like 38 chapters it feels like we are missing some of the depth that would be helpful in understanding the subject matter.
I highly recommend this book (or should I say, lecture series) for anyone interested in this topic. It offers a very thorough overview of the French Revolution from its inspirations and beginnings to the fall of Napoleon and Waterloo and subsequent historical events and trends. It also highlights other important players in the French Revolution beside just the French nation, including the process of the creation of the modern state of Haiti as well as important countries that played a role in the French Revolution or were greatly affected by it. I have listened to a number of Great Courses, and this is definitely one of the better ones I have listened to. The lecturer makes the series interesting to listen to but also does not sacrifice on content. It is also a longer series than normal, so it is well worth a credit. If you are interested in the topic and in history in general, you won't be disappointed!
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