This year marks the 225th anniversary of the outbreak of the French Revolution. You don’t have to be a historian to know and appreciate...

This year marks the 225th anniversary of the outbreak of the French Revolution. You don’t have to be a historian to know and appreciate how significant that revolution is to our understanding of French society and culture since the eighteenth century. Noah Shusterman‘s new book, The French Revolution: Faith, Desire, and Politics (Routledge, 2013) is an accessible book that provides readers with an overview of the major events and historical actors who shaped the Revolution from the storming of the Bastille on July 14th, 1789 to the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799. It is a book that offers a compelling narrative and draws on the vast field of scholarship that has analyzed and interpreted these events for over two centuries.

This new study of the French Revolution emphasizes the central roles that religion and gender played as events unfolded, from the “liberal revolution” of 1789 through the emergence of the republic, from the Terror to Napoleon’s ascent. Readers familiar with the history of the French Revolution will especially appreciate chapters that pay close attention to the 1790 Civil Constitution of the Clergy and the revolt in the Vendee, issues and events that do not often get the play they may deserve in other surveys. Those who have always wanted to learn about the Revolution will find this book a highly informative and fascinating introduction to historical events and actors that help us understand so much that followed, in France and well beyond its borders. In our interview, Noah and I talk about teaching , the plethora of historical and political interpretations of the French Revolution, and the continuing relevance of that history to a contemporary French republic still struggling with issues of faith, desire, and politics.

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