Few events have drawn the attention of as many writers as the French Revolution. The literature on the topic is truly enormous; it is possible to find monographs on everything from the conditions of peasant life in the various provinces to the intellectual currents that led to the formation of the radical revolutionaries’ republican ideology. And yet books on the history of the revolution continue to be published. Many of the questions it raised remain unresolved and contested, just as they were in the late 18th century.
One of the latest such contributions is Jon Elster’s France before 1789: The Unraveling …
This article appears as “Emotion, Engine of History” in the November 16, 2020, print edition of National Review.
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