So we have some fine nugget of information turning up. As I suspected but had not confirmed on writing the previous post one of the authors cited, Adolphe Thiers, was head of state of France for some time prior to and following the collapse of the Second Empire and the Franco-Prussian war, Thiers was instrumental in crushing the Paris Commune and stabilising the nation. There is more on his here on Wikipedia.
Can we lay our hands on a copy?
Project Gutenberg has more than excelled itself by providing the entire text of The History of the French Revolution online for free. Sadly it is in French and so is useless to someone as poorly schooled (that is to say my teachers were in fact rather good but cursed by lazy students) in the language as I. other may however use this resource to the hilt.
The Google Book Search copy is also available and for anyone not used to the run of events in the period it has an extensive time line in the front matter here. Reading it reminds me how the actual radicalisation might not have been as inevitable as I suggested yesterday. The opportunities and chances for a more benign resolution almost jump from the page. It is well worth looking over.
Finally for today I thought I’d mention the introduction (here) which is a solid twelve pages long but worth the read. It also sets the book into a nice context and offers insights that are beyond my ability.
So for now I will leave Thiers and his work and do some digging on the others. Just one point that I know will crop up again and again with this project. Why can I not buy the right to print some extracts or even select text from the online version? It is in the public domain, it is scanned. I would happily pay up to twenty dollars to access Google’s version of it and it would certainly make this task easier and more enlightening to be able to quote portions. The sooner Google offers the facility to use the text the better is all I can say.
From a wonderfully sunny Dublin
July 16th 2006