SIX SUMMERS IN PARIS 1789-1794 by John Fisher
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Six Summers in Paris achieves the distinction of being as interesting and exciting as its subject. It is the best short history of the French Revolution to appear in decades, the most intelligent and balanced general treatment we are likely to have for some time. John Fisher's concise study is in every way exemplary. The product of exhaustive research, it never betrays its scholarly origins: it is informative and authoritative without being pedantic, lively and entertaining without being popularized pap. It is written by an intelligent man for the intelligent general reader who wants a clear overall view of the Revolution. And it is superbly penned in a stylish prose that succeeds in taking the reader back to the eighteenth century, no mean accomplishment for a history book. Mr. Fisher has a gift for making history live. Talented as he is, however, he falters on a few occasions. He yields to the great temptation of explaining the past in terms of the present. For example, he relates an incident in the eighteenth century to Madame de Gaulle, a happy parallel which is nonetheless irrelevant. (Gratefully, Mr. Fisher never mentions Le Grand Charles.) But why carp? This excellent book justly deserves high praise. One only hopes that it will survive its title. How could Harper & Row have selected Six Summers In Paris 1789-1794, which suggests an eighteenth century travelogue? Isn't the title The French Revolution marketable? Six Summers? A book as brilliant as this somehow deserves more.

Pub Date: Feb. 28th, 1966
Publisher: Harper & Row