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The French Revolution is the time when the civilians defeated the kingdom and took its control in their hands. It has always been the topic of great interest for the students of literature and those who love to dig down history. It contains the number of incidents that always fascinate writers and historians. This is the reason; we have a massive literature over the French revolution. There are several books written on the topic mesmerizing the readers by the haunting stories and striking events that keep them stuck to the pages.
What are the Best French Revolution Books to read?
So, here are the impartial reviews of the best books written on the French Revolution. These books are written with an exceptional narrative and plot that will surely prove to be a great addition in your collection. We hope that these books will satisfy your thirst of knowing more about the history and keep you mesmerized throughout your reading experience.
Best Books on French Revolution: Our Top 20 Picks
Here are some of the best french revolution books that you can consider to expand your knowledge on the subject:
1. Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution
Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution is a mesmerizing narrative history written by a young and successful historian and an award-winning writer Simon Schama who has written this book in a way history should ideally be presented to a layman. The history takes into account the cultural, social, and technological aspects of the French revolution in a very presentable and authoritative way.
All the events are written in a very clear and comprehensive way. The book covers almost each and every event of the French revolution; however, there are some misleading events that deviate from the facts, but still, the book passes the test of history and proves to be a good choice for history readers.
- Authors: Simon Schama (Author)
- Publisher: Vintage; Illustrated Edition (March 17, 1990)
- Pages: 976 pages
2. The French Revolution and Napoleon
Who hasn’t heard about Napoleon Bonaparte, the famous figure in the history and the captivating topic of the literature? He is one of the figures who has brought a transition in history. This comprehensive book is written by Charles Downer Hazen with brilliance.
The book begins by describing the economic and social conditions of France and how the revolution started.
In this book, the author revealed several facts, including why the revolution failed and How Napolean came into power. The book is very well-written, concise, and easy to understand. Hazen has a simple narrative that makes the events more understandable. The book covers all the events in a manner that the reader may not find the detail tedious and boring. In my opinion, if you want to read a simple history narrative about The French Revolution, then this book is a must-buy.
- Authors: Charles Downer Hazen (Author)
- Publisher: Lecturable (November 27, 2012)
- Pages: 186 pages
3. Reflections on the Revolution in France
Edmund’s Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France was written in the form of a letter to Parisian but expanded, later on, taking the form of a book. The book reflects Edmund’s great political analysis. Burke was a member of the British House of common, but he was strictly against the French revolution.
He believed in peace, property rights, and the rule and considered The French revolution as the violent and irrational revolution that has no ideology. He thinks that the French revolution is the agitation against the authority that has not brought Liberty and Fraternity that it was supposed to bring. This book has an authoritative content influenced by Burke’s excellent writing skills reflecting his point of view in a clear and comprehendible manner.
- Authors: Edmund Burke (Author)
- Publisher: Digireads.com Publishing (October 1, 2018)
- Pages: 192 pages
4. The French Revolution: A very short Introduction
The French Revolution: A very short introduction written by William Doyle is not actually a concise introduction but a complete and clear explanation of the well-known events that gave rise to the French revolution. The book elucidates the reasons that trigger the quarrel between the revolutionaries and the authority, how frightful the war of terror was, and How it ended up with Napoleon’s dictatorship.
The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction is an outstanding narrative on the events of the French revolution, its consequences, and the reasons behind it. It is a short book but explains the topic broadly to the readers. In this book, Doyle has tried to make the readers realize that we are still living with the transitioning and consequences brought by the French revolution.
- Authors: William Doyle (Author)
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1st Edition (December 6, 2001)
- Pages: 152 pages
5. The Days of the French Revolution
The days of the French Revolution by Christopher Hibbert is the recollection of the days of the French revolution that has brought a massive change in western culture. In this book, Hibbert takes into account each event of the French revolution in days like The day of Tennis Court oath and The day of the fall of Bastille, etc.
Hibbert has presented each and every important role of the French revolution the way it should be defined. The book’s epilogue defines the devastating consequences this revolution has brought for the future. The way Hibbert writes is very vivid and engaging. The writer is overwhelming, presenting the history with a brilliance that keeps you stuck to the pages until the end.
- Authors: Christopher Hibbert (Author)
- Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Illustrated Edition (June 23, 1999)
- Pages: 384 pages
6. The Oxford History of the French Revolution
The Oxford History of the French Revolution is another account of the French Revolution by William Doyle. In this book, Doyle has reassessed the greatest revolution of all time. He has presented all the events in a chronological order ending with a bibliography providing a short history of all the events.
The Doyle has the edge over the historical narrative. He has presented how the revolution that started off with optimism ended up like a tragedy for the rulers as well as the ordinary people. All the events are well-researched and confirmed. The facts are presented in a clear and vivid way providing new insights into European history. This up-to-date book is a great material for the students of history to understand the French revolution.
- Authors: William Doyle (Author)
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2nd Edition (August 28, 2003)
- Pages: 496 pages
7. The French Revolution by William Blake
The French Revolution is written by William Blake, who is a not-so-famous poet, painter, and writer. Like his prophetic poetry, His historical narrative also proves to be exceptional and exemplary for other writers. He offers a concise history of the French revolution in this book. However, I found it a little short as compared to the other books detailed the French Revolution.
I think the French revolution is not a concise topic, and the author has definitely left something of importance that compels me to read more books on the French revolution to satisfy my need to know more about the topic. However, the book is great for the students of history who do not know much about history.
- Authors: William Blake (Author)
- Pages: 20 pages
8. The French Revolution: A History (Modern Library Classics)
This historical masterwork is written by Thomas Carlyle, who infuses life to the past events that happened in France. This book is a very appealing combination of prose and poetry that differentiates it from the ordinary history books. You will find some incidents so clear and lively making you feel that the writer is actually witnessing the scene.
However, to some extent, the book is not easy to understand, especially for those who do not know anything about the French revolution. So, I will not suggest the book to the new reader who is not known to the events of the French revolution. However, with all this oddness, the book proves to be the great work of the history that is conveyed in the form of poetry.
- Authors: Thomas Carlyle (Author), John D. Rosenberg (Introduction)
- Publisher: Modern Library; Modern Library Edition (May 14, 2002)
- Pages: 848 pages
9. The French Revolution
The French Revolution is a well-presented book of narrative history written by Ian Davidson. The book is a fresh assessment of the most transitioning revolution of all time. He believes that the ffrench revolution is a multifaceted revolution in all times and places. Davidson gives an account of all the events in a chronological order making it easy to understand.
It is easy to digest a book that clearly explains the noble goals of the revolutionaries that turned out to be the deadly rebellion resulting in death, terror, and lawlessness. This book is a perfect introduction of the French revolution to those who do not know much about this most impactful event of European History. However, the book does not elucidate the grounds backing the facts making it a bit less comprehendible.
- Authors: Ian Davidson (Author)
- Publisher: Pegasus Books; Reprint Edition (January 9, 2018)
- Pages: 352 pages
10. The French Revolution and what went wrong
The French revolution and what went wrong is the account of history written by Stephen Clarke. The most impressive thing about this historical book is the fun element. Unlike the previously discussed books, This book never gets you bored. It keeps you engaged in the captivating stories of people and events of the French revolution that it feels fun to read.
This book is free of frills and fluff. It has exposed a number of wrong facts about the French Revolution, which people consider true. It is a delightful and amusing book for those who live in history and the French revolution. It gives a great edge to the author and tells the world a new way to write the history books. This is a must-read for all those who do not study history because of the boredom and dullness generally associated with it.
- Authors: Stephen Clarke (Author)
11. The Old Regime and the French Revolution
Alexis de Tocqueville contributed to European history through the number of books, including The old regime and the French Revolution. The book was written about 100 years ago, but still, it gives a fresh and lively account of all the events of the French revolution.
It is a classical book that compares the old era with the post-revolution period. The narrative is interesting and appealing; however, the bibliography needs to be worked at. This book gives a fresh look at the great insights that appeared in The French Revolution. It explains how the revolution that was aimed to bring betterment in society turned out to be the riot and tragedy.
- Authors: Alexis de Tocqueville (Author), Stuart Gilbert (Translator)
- Publisher: Anchor (October 1, 1983)
- Pages: 300 pages
12. The Coming of the Terror in the French Revolution
The Coming of the Terror in the French Revolution is written by Timothy Tackett, who is the Professor of History at The University Of California. It is a deep and gripping history of the French revolution that brought terror, lawlessness, death, and misery to the rulers as well as the general people of France. This revolution transitioned the face of Europe and influenced the number of writers and Historians, including Timothy.
This book is a major contribution to the history of the French Revolution. It is a thought-provoking narrative that has made Timothy an influential Historian. In this book, Timothy has tried to figure out How the perfect and ideal theory of 1789 turns out to be the nightmare of terror and violence in the history of France. The name of the book also confirms his belief. In my opinion, it is a five-star book with a deep and well-researched observation of the events of the French revolution.
- Authors: Timothy Tackett (Author)
- Publisher: Belknap Press: An Imprint of Harvard University Press; Reprint Edition (November 20, 2017)
- Pages: 480 pages
13. Twelve Who Ruled: The Year of Terror in the French Revolution (Princeton Classics)
This is another classic in the history of the French revolution by R.R Palmer. The book covers the duties of the great committee of Public safety in France during the turmoil. The writer talks about the members of the committee excellently. He describes each and every character as a living character.
It gives answers to the fundamentals about the committee of public safety, including what is the committee of public safety—the reason it is made for, The goals, and the downsides. The book is the collection of the little biographies of all the twelve members of the committee. It is a fascinating and well-presented book that reflects the writer’s passion for its subject. The book is a bit precise but a great history of the commuters of Public safety.
- Authors: R. R. Palmer (Author), Isser Woloch (Foreword)
- Publisher: Princeton University Press; Reprint Edition (April 4, 2017)
- Pages: 448 pages
14. Liberty or Death: The French Revolution
The French revolution is a rich topic of history and an interesting area for the writers that moved Europe’s entire history. In this book, the writer Peter McPhee gives a fresh account of the world’s most modern and transitioning revolution that occurred in France. It covers each and every detail about the origin, drama, complexity, and the importance of the French revolution.
Peter McPhee describes how the revolution was a turning point in history. It is a deeply researched book that evaluates the revolution in the global context. It is an extraordinary book that gives a detailed overview of the history of the French revolution. The book is a well-written material for the students of history and a good textbook for the layman who wants to learn about history.
- Authors: Peter McPhee (Author)
- Publisher: Yale University Press; Illustrated Edition (August 8, 2017)
- Pages: 488 pages
15. The Coming of the French Revolution (Princeton Classics)
The Coming of the French Revolution (Princeton Classics) is written by George Lefbvre and translated by the well-known Historian, R.R. Palmer. The book was published on the eve of the second world war. It highlights How the revolution began in France, the class struggle in France, and the role this struggle played to begin the revolution.
This book proves to be the best introduction of The French revolution in history and explain how different classes and faction triggered the warfare. The book is extremely detailed and factual. However, I found it a little dry, but still, it remains the classical interpretation of what has actually happened in history.
- Authors: Georges Lefebvre (Author), R. R. Palmer (Translator, Preface), Timothy Tackett (Introduction)
- Publisher: Princeton University Press; Revised Edition (October 6, 2015)
- Pages: 280 pages
16. A New World Begins: The History of the French Revolution
Jeremy Popkin is an award-winning historian who has added a new masterpiece over the French revolution. It is an engaging, authoritative, and up-to-date history that has driven Europe to what it is today. The writer is an expert who has worked for decades to produce his writings. This is the reason; his writing appeals to experts, students, and the general public.
The writer believes that the principles we drive from the French revolution are the basis of justice and peaceful society in the modern-day world. Although the events occurred more than two centuries before, they still continue to captivate the experts, students, and general readers for unstoppable debates. In this book, we meet different prominent characters of the French revolution and see its impact on modern-day Europe.
- Authors: Jeremy Popkin (Author)
- Publisher: Basic Books; Illustrated Edition (December 10, 2019)
- Pages: 640 pages
17. French Revolution: A Captivating Guide to the French Revolution, the Life of Marie Antoinette and the Impact Made by Napoleon Bonaparte
This informatics historical narrative is introduced by Captivating History, whose main objective is to introduce the history interestingly. History is a rough and dull subject that gets you bored sometimes. However, this book is written in a way that keeps you engaged until the end.
It contains captivating stories of the historical people and the historical era that has brought massive changes in the History of Europe. It describes the events of The French revolution in a very interesting chronological order. The content is well-researched, and the author has tried to be neutral. The book is divided into two main parts. The first accounts for all the events of the French Revolution, while the second part is the precise history of the life of Marie Antoinette.
- Authors: Captivating History (Author)
- Publisher: Captivating History (December 22, 2019)
- Pages: 178 pages
18. The French Revolution and Napoleonic Era
The French Revolution and Napoleonic Era are written by Owen Connelly. This textbook contains all the events about the French revolution in detail. The book concludes with the rise of the Napoleonic era and the conclusion of The French revolution. Connelley’s main objective is to write a textbook that clearly and concisely able to deliver a history to the student as it is.
It is a perfect coursebook for the higher-level classes and those history students who want to utilize this research and the generally accepted facts of that era into their research paper or thesis. Its basic objective is to give the students the how-know of the French revolution, its impact, and its consequences. It is easy to understand, written with clarity, and contains no-frills and fluffs. The first half of the book deals with the revolution, while the 2nd half is about the rise and fall of the Napoleonic era.
- Authors: Owen Connelly (Author)
- Publisher: Harcourt, Inc.; 3rd Edition (July 16, 1999)
- Pages: 428 pages
19. The French Revolution: A Document Collection
The French Revolution: A Document Collection is written by Laura Mason. The book is a great textbook or anthology about the great French revolution that elucidates all the events of the French revolution in chronological order. This book also highlights the critical social, cultural, and political changes of the era of the French revolution.
It is a detailed account of the French revolution that brings the revolution back to life. It is a deep and insightful book that is of great help for the students of history who want to write their research papers on the French revolution. The book is a deep and informative account of the events and the ground upon which the revolution began.
- Authors: Laura Mason (Author), Tracey Rizzo (Author)
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin; 1st Edition (December 21, 1998)
- Pages: 384 pages
20. Living the French Revolution and the Age of Napoleon
Living the French Revolution and the Age of Napoleon by Suzanne M. Desan is a deep and thought-provoking book about the French revolution. It highlights each and every perspective of the world’s most deadly revolution that brought a massive change in many lives. It gives a detailed account of the era between the onsets of the revolution ending up with the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1814.
The book lists 48 captivating lectures about the French revolution that offers a good opportunity to learn about the age of a great change. It is a comprehensive course lecture best to be considered by the History students. The book is informative and educational, along with the teaching style that makes it worth buying.
- Authors: Suzanne M. Desan (Author, Narrator), The Great Courses (Author, Publisher)
- Publisher: The Great Courses (July 08, 2013)
Choosing the Best French Revolution Books
The French Revolution has always been a captivating series of events for most of the readers and students. This detailed article will help you find the best available books to satisfy your thirst for reading history and to obtain a treasure of knowledge you would always admire.