Free and Equal
The French Revolution and the Making of the Modern World
It has been twenty five years since Simon Schama’s Citizens brought the French Revolution to life and to the bestseller lists. Much has happened, in terms of both scholarship on the period and in world events, since 1989 and the time is right for a new general history. In Free and Equal: The French Revolution and the Making of the Modern World, historian Jeremy Popkin brings a fresh and broad-ranging perspective to the French Revolution, and illuminates how relevant it is to our understanding of the world today.
Taking into account the last quarter century of research, Free and Equal fully integrates debates about the role of women as well as confrontations about race and slavery into the narrative. Popkin also expands the chronology of the period, reaching beyond the fall of Robespierre in 1794, and continuing through the years of the Directory. During that time, which has been little covered in other works for general readers, France moved beyond the Terror but also paved the way for Napoleon to seize power and marked the beginning of western expansion, particularly into the countries of the Middle East.
Free and Equal is a dramatic and thought-provoking account of a conflict in which many of the values that we consider fundamental to modern society were tested and debated. Its history could not be more resonant.