Living the French Revolution and the Age of Napoleon : The Great Courses: Modern History

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Suzanne M. Desan
  • Series: The Great Courses: Modern History
  • 24 hrs and 46 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

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:

France’s oppressed and hungry masses rise up against their government.
In Paris, crowds storm the Bastille looking for bread and weaponry.
Rumors, panic, and fear grip the nation as it faces an uncertain future.
The National Assembly adopts the Declaration of the Rights of Man, the first bold step toward the invention of democratic politics and a republican state.
A young Corsican named Napoleon Bonaparte stuns Europe with his military strategy and political boldness.
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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Very good

Really very good, focuses on the political and social side more than Napoleon, though he still does feature heavily. I will certainly be getting more books from The Great Courses.
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- mr


Any additional comments?

This is the best Great Courses series I've ever listened to (and I've got through quite a few). It was absolutely enthralling all the way. Just the right level of detail, and just the right degree of focus on individual stories and anecdotes to illustrate the broader themes. I felt I really got a sense of the extraordinary fervour of the times – the boundless uncertainty, fear and optimism – and it felt almost like an unfolding story, as if the eventual endings were not inevitable.

I disagree with a previous reviewer who complained that Desan was excessively biased in favour of Robespierre. Admittedly, very occasionally she makes statements appearing to justify some violent action (e.g. the execution of the king) and it's not clear whether she's simply explaining the perpetrators' perspective, or whether she is also attempting to present that perspective as one she personally endorses. This doesn't stop her from giving a full sense of the horrors of the revolution's dark side and the grievances felt by many anti-revolutionary French.

By the end of the course I felt a real desire to find out what happened next in France for the remainder of the century in the same level of detail and narrative style, or else dive in further detail into certain strands of the revolution. I don't think there's anything quite like this.

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- N. Holzapfel

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-07-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses