How About Some Non-Fiction? Citizens by Simon Schama
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Jul. 6th, 2006 | 09:35 pm
posted by: kataplexis in isbn_045
Title: Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution
Author: Simon Schama
Thoughts and Summary: This book is one of the finest works of history ever produced--even if you hate reading histories or non-fiction. Schama, in response to trends in historiography toward the 'scientific' in the 20th century, writes his history of the French Revolution in the chronicle style of the 19th century. He writes something of a 'constellationary' history focusing not on a strict chronology or on wars or other such things that may make other histories seem so dry to the non-historian. Instead he writes a very compelling narrative of the chaotic and complex events that lead to and constituted what we refer to as the French Revolution. Revolutions, as Shama reminds us, are non-linear, circular events. A history of a revolution, then, of necessity, seems to reflect this. I have read this book many times in the 15 years since I first bought it (in high school!). I am re-reading it now because it is just that good. I am not a specialist in this subject. I just find the emotions and motivations behind these confusing and important periods in human history to be utterly intriguing. Schama writes in a way that fulfills a desire to watch the car wreck as it happens and even makes it more than a sick fascination. He makes you enjoy it. Once I finish this, I will be reading another of his histories for the first time called Landscape and Memory. It should be equally as good. But maybe not. This one is special.