Get under the surface of the most powerful and feared leader of the French Revolution
A provincial lawyer from Arras, Robespierre (1758-94) dominated France at the height of the Revolution, the event which more than any other, shaped modern history. Robespierre had an enigmatic and contradictory personality, reclusive, cerebral and austere, yet at the same time both neurotic and theatrical with a solitary lifestyle, hidden away even at the height of his fame in modest lodgings with a family he trusted. Others have written extensively by concentrating on analyzing Robespierre's set-piece speeches to parliament and the Jacobian club, but John Hardman gets behind the polished but chilly surface of the public persona by examining Robespierre at his desk rather that at the rostrum. Concentrating on Robespierre's administration rather than his rhetoric, Robespierre offers not only a brilliant original analysis of its formidable protagonist, but also a dramatic vantage point from which to survey the main phase of the Revolution itself, from the fall of the ancien regeime to the end of the Terror. As a title in the very popular Profiles in Power series, this is not a biography, though inevitably it contains much biographical material, it instead analyzes the major features, achievements and failures of Robespierre's career.
John Hardman formerely of the University of Edinburgh has written Louis XVI (Yale 1993) and French Politics (Longman 1995).
Paperbound reprint of a 1999 study in which Hardman (former lecturer in history, U. of Edinburgh) describes the career of the ruthless political manipulator Robespierre, and in the process explores the dynamics of the French revolutionary movement and the ferocious and self- destructive rivalries of its leadership. Getting behind the polished but chilly surface of the public persona, he reveals how Robespierre came by his extraordinary power and how he used it. He also examines the constituents of his faction, looks at the daily exercise of Robespierre and Payan and others, and discusses the triggers of his downfall in 1794, a mere year after he took power. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)