Twelve Who Ruled

The Year of the Terror in the French Revolution

Recommended by Lynn Hunt, and 1 others. See all reviews

Ranked #30 in French History

The Reign of Terror continues to fascinate scholars as one of the bloodiest periods in French history, when the Committee of Public Safety strove to defend the first Republic from its many enemies, creating a climate of fear and suspicion in revolutionary France. R. R. Palmer's fascinating narrative follows the Committee's deputies individually and collectively, recounting and assessing their tumultuous struggles in Paris and their repressive missions in the provinces. A foreword by Isser Woloch explains why this book remains an enduring classic in French revolutionary studies.


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Lynn Hunt Palmer’s Twelve Who Ruled is my single most favourite book on the French Revolution. He does precisely what I was just talking about. He doesn’t do it for the tens of thousands – I’m more interested in the tens and the hundreds of thousands – but for the twelve who ruled. He’s incredibly good at giving you a sense of what these people are confronted with, the incredible difficulty of their situation and the unbelievable stress of the circumstances they find themselves in. (Source)

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