The French Revolution by David Andress
In this miraculously compressed, incisive book, David Andress argues that it was the peasantry of France who made and defended the Revolution of 1789. That the peasant revolution benefited far more people, in more far reaching ways, than the revolution of lawyerly elites and urban radicals that has dominated our view of the revolutionary period. History has paid more attention to Robespierre, Danton, and Bonaparte than it has to the millions of French peasants who were the first to rise up in 1789, and the most ardent in defending changes in land ownership and political rights. "Those furthest from the centre rarely get their fair share of the light," Andress writes, and the peasants were patronized, reviled, and often persecuted by urban elites for not following their lead. Andress's book reveals a rural world of conscious, hard-working people and their struggles to defend their ways of life and improve the lives of their children and communities.