The French Revolution

  • by Encyclopaedia Britannica
  • Narrated by Peter Johnson
  • 13 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The editors of the Encyclopaedia Britannica are pleased to present the world of Marie-Antoinette and the French Revolution - from the grandeur and opulence of the French régime to its chaotic downfall and the new order that rose from its ashes. Here you will learn about the extravagant history of the royal Palace of Versailles with its Hall of Mirrors and extensive gardens, and the lavish court style of Louis XVI. Included are biographical portraits of Marie-Antoinette, her confidantes, and her conspirators, as well as profiles of other fascinating characters, such as Robespierre and Voltaire. From the advent of the guillotine for public executions, to the firebrands, philosophers, and royal philanderers who figured in the Revolution, Encyclopaedia Britannica sheds new light on this fascinating period of world history. Learn about the progression of events from the storming of the Bastille through the Reign of Terror; the scandals of Marie-Antoinette, such as The Affair of the Diamond Necklace; and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. With over four hours of audio and 60-plus chapters covering key people, places, and events, The French Revolution: Kings, Queens, and Guillotines examines this tumultuous and intriguing turning point in European history, with all of its captivating characters and events.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Worthy but not Entertaining

It was my own fault, I didn't think through how an encyclopedia might work as an audio book and I should have because sadly it doesn't. Few people would sit down a read an encyclopedia cover to cover. Its a pick and mix, dip in and out kind of information delivery system and therefore perfectly suited to book form where a quick look at the index, a riffle through the pages and there's the good stuff just waiting to fill that Robespierre shaped void in your knowledge. It even works on a CD with chapters you can skip through or a DVD where you can use a search facility to find what you need but as a digital download of 6+ hours with nothing but fast forward and rewind functions with which to navigate it is just not practical without the total recall necessary to know to the nearest second the time at which each of the subjects under discussion begins and ends.

Why not just listen to it start to finish? Mostly because the history of the Revolution is not presented as a linear narrative; and why would it be, this is an encyclopedia not a novel or history book; but also to some extent because the publishers chose to read this book a man who sounds precisely like you would expect an encyclopedia to sound if it could talk, only with an American accent. His voice has echos of Ben Stein's memorable performance as "Economics Teacher" in John Hughes 80's film classic "Ferris Bueller's Day Off":

"Anyone know what this is? Class? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone seen this before?"

For me, this made prolonged concentration on even so fantastically interesting a period as the one covered by this book difficult to say the least. The content is of the high standard you would expect from Britannica but when it comes to functionality, digital audio and encyclopedias sadly just don't mix.
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- David

Book Details

  • Release Date: 31-01-2008
  • Publisher: Encyclopaedia Britannica