Living the French Revolution and the Age of Napoleon by Suzanne Desan

Living the French Revolution and the Age of Napoleon

The 25 years between the onset of the French Revolution in 1789 and the Bourbon Restoration after Napoleon in 1814 is an astonishing period in world history. This era shook the foundations of the old world and marked a permanent shift for politics, religion, and society - not just for France, but for all of Europe. An account of the events alone reads like something out of a thrilling novel: France’s oppressed and hungry masses rise up against ...

Details Living the French Revolution and the Age of Napoleon

TitleLiving the French Revolution and the Age of Napoleon
Release DateJul 8th, 2013
PublisherThe Great Courses
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Cultural, France, Audiobook

Reviews Living the French Revolution and the Age of Napoleon

  • Clif Hostetler
    The French Revolution brings to mind the guillotine, the demise of Louie XVI and Marie Antoinette, and the Reign of Terror. But is all a blur in my mind. I know there’s more to that history than that. And why was the French experience with revolution so much different from the American experience? I’ve also read a lot about Napoleon and his exploits, but how could an outsider (Corsican) take over the French government and create his Empire? T...
  • Noah Goats
    Interesting, clearly organized, well presented, comprehensive and all around very good. This course is a good place to learn a fascinating stretch of French history.
  • Chris Chapman
    This is a series of lectures, and it's told in a chatty, sometimes joking (and yes, American) style which some might find grating, but I didn't. Although I can't say I loved the canned applause that opened and closed each lecture. I did love the granular detail she throws in, such as excerpts from diaries and letters of common people, observers of (and willing or unwilling participants in) the events. How interesting to learn that the British pre...
  • Deon French
    insightful and very interesting. details the grassroots of the revolution up to the fall of Napoleon. I do now understand a bit more of the country I am currently living in.
  • Wade
    Wow! This was crazy. I guess I knew plenty of facts about the French Revolution and Napoleon, but in this lecture series, professor Desan takes us through the roller-coaster of changing events and political climates that epitomized this period of French history on three main levels: the level of the average citizen loving through these times and how all the upheavals effected then by repeatedly building up hope and then dissapointing them, the le...
  • Erik
    I am glad to have listened to this series of lectures. My previous understanding of the French Revolution was woefully inadequate. The lecturer relates the current situation in 1793 that led to the terror, so I feel that I can understand how it happened better, though the terribleness is not lessened. To me it is a very cautionary tale of what happens when too much power is put into the hands of people with a strong agenda. The executions were le...
  • Jeff Beardsley
    This was one of the longer Great Courses lecture series that I’ve taken, but also one of the more interesting and educational. While it took me a few episodes to get used to Suzanne Desan’s teaching style, once I did I really enjoyed the subject matter, and I certainly learned a lot. The lectures broken down approximately as two-thirds regarding the French Revolution, and one-third regarding the rise and fall of Napoleon Bonaparte. Of course,...
  • Elizabeth
    It is easy in America to have a perception that the French Revolution is little more than The Terror, full of guillotines and wanton murder. In reality the terror is a tiny piece of bigger political event, and by losing the context of the bigger revolution we fail to even understand the one part we supposedly do know, let alone grasp the ways the politics of the French Revolution influence the world today. This book/lecture series did a great job...
  • Amy Gideon
    I didn't realize how many political movements were influenced by different aspects of the French Revolution. Desan does a good job making the material accessible and it's obvious she knows her stuff. Suzanne Desan is a good lecturer with a subtle sense of humor. She sometimes has longer than natural pauses, as if she's reading notes, which was a bit annoying at times, but overall an excellent presentation. I recommend this lecture series to anyon...
  • Lamadia
    This was very well put together and organized. You will come away with tons of knowledge about the French Revolution and Napoleonic eras. It was easy to listen to and follow everything that was going on.
  • coolwind
    It is very well written and comprehensive. French Revolution is a period shaped the modern French and whole European history. The impact spread to the whole world. It is a must read.
  • Jeanie T
    History is brutal.
  • Skuli Saeland
    Fantagóðir fyrirlestrar um sögu byltingarinnar í Frakklandi og stjórnartíð Napóleons í kjölfarið. Stútfullir af upplýsingum sem Desan flytur vel og skilmerkilega.
  • Kevin Stilley
    This 384 page coursebook and accompanying 48 lectures is a comprehensive and meticulously detailed account of the French Revolution and its aftermath. Strongly recommended.
  • April Sanders
  • Cody Rowe
    Very accessible and informative.
  • Aditya Y.
    Way more detail than I needed. I've spent 8 hours with this audiobook and feel like I still barely know anything about the revolution because I'm getting lost in the details.
  • Ryan Atwood
    Excellent overview of this time period. Learned so much that is useful even in how we think about systems of progress today.
  • Nilesh
    Few historic periods are as eventful, turbulent and consequential for human society as the 25-year period starting from 1889. Even avid history buffs are often at loss to explain how the revolution of all time for democracy ended up with the popular rise and then fall of Napolean in the double quick time.Everyone should listen to this easy to understand lectures simply to learn about this fascinating period if not for any other reason. Ms Desan's...
  • Dale Anderson
    To understand modern politics and philosophies in America such as conservative and liberal, constitutionalist and progressive (neo-communist), one must understand the French Revolution. There is no better book to achieve this end. Are concepts of "left" and "right" in politics comes from the politics of the French revolution. The "left" began as individuals seeking a republic and liberty, but quickly evolved into revolutionaries willing to use te...
  • Andrea
    I love the Great Courses series and this one did not disappoint! This is the best overview of the French Revolution I have experienced. I have studied a lot about this era, but this is the first "book" that has really painted a complete picture for me and put all of the names and events together into a cohesive whole. Ms. Desan is clearly passionate about the subject and it helps her lectures come alive for the listener. The French Revolution has...
  • Athina KourChar
    Wow, this was long but completely worth it!I am one of those people who hated history taught in school, then years later decided to give it another chance. So, this is one of the few non-finctional historical books/audiobooks I have read/listened to and I must say I loved it!The lectures were really well structured and enjoyable to listen to. I found them relatively easy to follow, although quite a few names were mentioned and I did sometimes str...
  • Gerard Costello
    I found myself enthralled by this course. Desan is a passionate, brilliant lecturer and researcher. What I particularly enjoyed about the course is Desan's use of human stories and anecdotes to illustrate how life and politics was changing throughout France. She pulls her source material from all social classes of Revolutionary France, not the just the rich and or important. She speaks very well and fills her lectures with colorful details which...
  • Nefertari
    Excellent listen. Not only did she transition the Old Regime to the Revolution to the Terror, Professor Desan effortlessly transitioned in a logical manner the Terror to the how that laid the groundwork for Napoleon's rise. She also doesn't just focus on the old dead white men behind the story, but the women involved in the revolution, the enslaved people of Haiti striving to gain freedoms of their own.Note: I did think she let Rob...
  • Yasser Mohammad
    I enjoyed this lecture series specially that I listened to most of it in Paris while being able to feel the places mentioned. The importance of slave revolution in Saint-Domingue (Haiti) for both the ideological and historical context within which the french revolution unfolded and based on which USA could double its territory was new to me. It seems that rights are always taken and never given (no exceptions).The discussion of the rise of terror...
  • Brian
    The instructor did a very nice job of presenting the revolution and the rise and fall of Bonaparte. The difficulty of moving from a one voice rule (monarchist/king) to plurality of voices is monumentally difficult. People simply see the world differently. The impact of French revolution was minimal until Bonaparte took lands from all the European powers. He ultimately over reached, destroying the revolution and returning to a king. Ultimately, it...
  • Sally
    Another great Teaching Company offering. The professor brings the period to life, covers the material thoroughly and clearly. I took a course on the causes of the French Revolution in college, but this put into context the whole sweep of this critical period, from the reign of Louis XVI up through Napoleon (and even briefly covering to the end of the 19th century). I recommend it highly.
  • Irena
    A set of 24 lectures, 30 minutes each. The history of French Revolution and Napoleon's Empire presented in a concise and logical manner, with lots of fascinating details and with the analysis of its international influence and legacy. The best resource on this period of history I've met so far. A hundred times better than French Revolution lectures from The Modern Scholar.
  • Daniel
    I knew next to nothing about the French revolution, besides the fact that it dealt with the terror and Napoleon, when I started and now feel I can talk. at least conversationaly about it. That alone makes it a must listen. The Great course series are the best commute audio books (really college lectures)ever. love them
  • Albert Rowan
    This book eco's the problems faced by South Africa today. The question of how to end a revolution, and bring its promises to fruition, remains a complicated and difficult project. It does however put the South African project in context, and raises in me personally trepanation but also pride in how far South Africa has come -