1848: THE MAKING OF A REVOLUTION by Georges Duveau


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This important book explores the social aspect of the revolution of 1848 in France. A translation of a study published posthumously last year in France, it is a work to be reckoned with, one which deserves comparison with elements of Marx's Class Struggles in France and The Eighteenth Brumaire, Tocqueville's Recollections, and Charles Seignobos's account in Lavisse's Histoire de France. To Duveau, whose works, respected in France, are little known here, the events of the revolution are acts in a drama of historical inevitability. Like de Tocqueville, he believes that revolutions are a kind of chronic disease. The significance of the 1848 uprising is the birth of class warfare, the bloody heir of the old Jacquerie. The Paris revolt was an attempt not at a political but at a social revolution. In 1848 the oppressors of France were seen as the thrifty bourgeoisie, the peasant proprietors, the tradesmen, the owners of small factories. The class hatred of 1848 would torment Paris again in 1871 and then many other cities and nations to the present day. Not a book for the common reader, Duveau's study is difficult and frequently convoluted. Its value as social history, however, will be quickly recognized by scholars and advanced students. The translation is excellent, readable and idiomatic. George Rude's introduction is exemplary, important for many readers who will have difficulty exploring labyrinthine passages of Duveau's book.

Publisher: Pantheon