A New World Begins
The History of the French Revolution
From an award-winning historian, a magisterial account of the revolution that created 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 A New World Begins: The History of the French Revolution, 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, A New World Begins 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.
A New World Begins 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.
Published by Basic Books
Praise for A New World Begins
In A New World Begins, Jeremy Popkin, professor of history at the University of Kentucky, offers a fresh and fair-minded account of the revolution overﬂowing with vivid narrative detail and clear exposition.
— The Wall Street Journal
What makes a good history book? Subject matter? Writing style? Clarity? Whatever your answer may be, Jeremy D. Popkin’s A New World Begins qualifies.”
Popkin’s expertise on revolutionary-era France is keenly demonstrated here-from pre-Revolutionary thought through the history of the country up to Louis XVI and his Hapsburg wife, Marie-Antoinette, and beyond, to the years of upheaval and the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte.
A fresh, welcome new interpretation of the French Revolution.
This is a book that has been needed for a long time: a lucid, engaging, authoritative, accurate, and up-to-date history of the French Revolution. Jeremy Popkin is one of the great living experts on the subject, and he has drawn on a half-century of study to produce this first-rate work. Particularly impressive is the way he integrates the history of the Haitian Revolution into that of the French Revolution. A New World Begins will appeal to experts, students, and general readers alike.
― David A. Bell, professor of history, Princeton University and author of Men on Horseback: Charisma and Power in the Age of Revolutions
Jeremy Popkin is one of the most eminent scholars working on the French Revolution, and his A New World Begins provides us with the best, fullest and most up-to-date history of the Revolutionary decade from 1789 through to the advent of Napoleon. Writing with an insight that distills a lifetime’s study, Popkin is particularly alert to the range of experience of those who lived through the Revolutionary years. There is heart and compassion here as well as wit and intelligence: Popkin does not flinch from recounting the Revolution’s more sombre legacies, but can still elicit in his readers a bitter-sweet sense of excitement about a moment in western history when, indeed, a new epoch in the history of humanity seemed to be blossoming.
― Colin Jones, author of The Great Nation: France from Louis XV to Napoleon1715-99
Sweeping in coverage, A New World Begins offers a fresh and richly detailed account of French revolutionary politics. Jeremy Popkin is an outstanding scholar of the French and Haitian Revolutions, and his deep layers of expertise shine through the pages of this book. This thought-provoking account will push readers to reflect deeply on the contradictions and complexities of modern democracy.
― Suzanne Desan, professor of history, University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of The Family on Trial in Revolutionary France
Based on nearly half a century of research and teaching, Jeremy Popkin’s new study of the French Revolution brilliantly brings alive the complex goals and emotions of the men and women and people of color struggling to create a new world. It is especially effective in exploring what that struggle meant, both for the generation of Revolutionaries and for our own day. A New World Begins is an outstanding synthesis that is sure to stand as basic reading on the subject for many years to come.
― Timothy Tackett, professor emeritus of history, UC Irvine and author of Becoming a Revolutionary