Day: July 15, 2006

Off with his head . . . and all that

Topic of the day
One of the topics of enduring interest to me (And fortunately for this blog current, I am but a few short days beyond 14th of July and Bastille Day) is the French Revolution.

And why?
I have never been a fan of revolutions considering their excesses often the almost inevitable results of their beginnings. Despite that I was always amazed at how conservative the original aims of the revolution were, before it spiralled out of control and resulted in Terror, Dictatorship and War of course. I wrote an essay in my final year of college on the role the Aristocracy played in the early months following the overthrow of Louis XVI’s absolute authority and was amazed at how little credit they were given for the reforming laws they passed and the active role they played in legislation committees in those early almost calm days. Of course they and their reforms were swept away with the tide but I found the topic immensely intriguing.

The search
In any case the body of writing on the subject is truly gigantic as a search for French Revolution reveals. I have decided to work this in as limited a tie frame as possible and so have called up a search on Google Book Search for books with that reference between 1790 and 1880, which should result in a horrid number of out of copyright full view (FV) books. Shame to say there remain books, clearly no longer in copyright under any sane law that Google insists on retain in snippet view (SV) of basic information view (BV). The first page results are in the image below.

Which books I took and why
I added to my list of books to investigate:
The History of the French Revolution, By Adolphe Thiers (A. Hart, Philadelphia, 1850) as it was the second listed book and was available FV.
It is available apparently on Amazon though I suspect not the original full version which ran at five volumes and which has 2 (now 3) members listings in Librarything.com

The Causes of the French Revolution by Lord John Russell (Longman, London, 1832) which is also available in FV (thinking on it I’ll only choose FV books so lets just finish with that one after today).
This is available on Abebooks for the ferociously expensive price of $190. I sometimes wish I could afford to buy books like this everyday. When someone produces the practically free e-book version of this title, I will fork our €300 for an e-reader.

History of the Girondists: Or, Personal Memoirs of the Patriots of the French Revolution, By Alphonse de Lamartine (H.G. Bohn, London??, 1853)
Now I don’t know much about this yet but it is about the radicals who came before the Terror and so I will enjoy finding out more.

It is well known that all good things (and Bad must come to an end so it is fitting that the last book of the pack would be:
History of Napoleon, by George Moir Bussey (J. Thomas, London??, 1840)
It is available on abebooks for considerably less than the Russell title. So maybe, just maybe!!

Wrap Up
So those are the books. Hopefully soon I can post a little more on the authors, the publishers and the books themselves. I hope you will post comments and notes about anything that relates to them. I would really enjoy that!

Thanks for reading
Eoinp

Welcome to Uncovered History

Hello and welcome
I’m Eoin and this is Uncovered History a blog about History Books lost in the bowels of libraries, private collections and all the other places where they do no-one any good. It is about words trapped on pages and it is about how technology is helping me and you read them again as the writers and the words intended.

What and How
I write another blog* on publishing and part of that site involved visiting and working on Google Book Search. Last week it struck me that one of the enormous values Google Book Search and other book indexing site are offering is free access to books that have long since fallen out of readership.

They may once have been well read and acknowledged as fine examples of their genres but now these books exist as part of the shelves of libraries (Often stored in their less read warehouse sections) the shelves of private collectors or as the stock of second hand antique and rare booksellers. Indexation and digitisation has saved them from ending their days in that way. It harks back to a conversation started by Jeff Jarvis who said “Print is where words go to die“.

That is why every few weeks (I will twice for twice a month but I am a busy guy so there is no guarantee) I hope to be able to post an item which has used the internet and its tools to find obscure and wonderful books (Always two, sometimes more never more than five), read some or all of their content, search a little to find where (if possible) one might buy a copy, see what can find about the authors and generally promote a book that once was deemed worthy of publication.

Wrap Up
I don’t know if anyone will like the idea, I don’t care. It appeals to me and that at the end of the day is the reason I am doing this. On the other hand it would be nice if people did enjoy it and if they dropped me comments and suggestions along the way. Feedback is a powerful thing.

If you have suggestions for topics with the following fields: history, politics, economics, society and global affairs then e-mail me at

    eoinpurcellsblogATgmail.com

Notes
*If you are interested you can read it here