From the advent of the guillotine for public executions, to the firebrands, philosophers, and royal philanderers who figured in the Revolution, Encyclopaedia Britannica sheds new light on this fascinating period of world history. Learn about the progression of events from the storming of the Bastille through the Reign of Terror; the scandals of Marie-Antoinette, such as The Affair of the Diamond Necklace; and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.
With over four hours of audio and 60-plus chapters covering key people, places, and events, The French Revolution: Kings, Queens, and Guillotines examines this tumultuous and intriguing turning point in European history, with all of its captivating characters and events.
©2006 Encyclopaedia Britannica; (P)2006 Encyclopaedia Britannica
It was my own fault, I didn't think through how an encyclopedia might work as an audio book and I should have because sadly it doesn't. Few people would sit down a read an encyclopedia cover to cover. Its a pick and mix, dip in and out kind of information delivery system and therefore perfectly suited to book form where a quick look at the index, a riffle through the pages and there's the good stuff just waiting to fill that Robespierre shaped void in your knowledge. It even works on a CD with chapters you can skip through or a DVD where you can use a search facility to find what you need but as a digital download of 6+ hours with nothing but fast forward and rewind functions with which to navigate it is just not practical without the total recall necessary to know to the nearest second the time at which each of the subjects under discussion begins and ends.
Why not just listen to it start to finish? Mostly because the history of the Revolution is not presented as a linear narrative; and why would it be, this is an encyclopedia not a novel or history book; but also to some extent because the publishers chose to read this book a man who sounds precisely like you would expect an encyclopedia to sound if it could talk, only with an American accent. His voice has echos of Ben Stein's memorable performance as "Economics Teacher" in John Hughes 80's film classic "Ferris Bueller's Day Off":
"Anyone know what this is? Class? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone seen this before?"
For me, this made prolonged concentration on even so fantastically interesting a period as the one covered by this book difficult to say the least. The content is of the high standard you would expect from Britannica but when it comes to functionality, digital audio and encyclopedias sadly just don't mix.
This collection of articles was very informative. I got a great sense of the social and political events and people during the 1700's with interesting stories interwoven. Part 2, however seemed to be a repeat of part 1 and there was alot of overlap of the same article in the other EB downloads of the French revolution. My recommendation is to just get this one or if you are interested is specific topics get the shorter topic specific books. It would be nice if the product desription gave a list of the articles for each book in this series.
As a history junkie it takes a lot to turn me off. This one actually managed to do so...dull as dust.
"Not so good"
It seems that audio isn't the best format for this style of book -- basically a collection of short essays about events and people around the time of the French Revolution. This was another problem, many of the essays were in the same period but seemed to have no other connection to the French Revolution, the supposed topic of the book. I'm a little sympathetic to the narrator who can't totally be blamed for the dry reading, because he was essentially reading an encylopedia -- probably not the easiest material to turn into riveting audio.
"For Serious Scholars Only"
Way too many facts and no human interest aspects
Would have been better with a French speaker but having said that, nobody could do much with the overwhelming details and absence of the human feelings and emotions that must have gone on during this period
"Poor writing, pointless details"
This is the worst history book I've ever picked up. A high school student could have written it better. There is no chronological progression of events and there is little cause and effect explanation of this incredibly complex time. To make matters worse, the book will bore you with biography of people that had nothing to do with the events. Wanna know the exact birth date of a french landscape architect? You'll find it here, but he had no role in the revolution...
Books like this make history boring and un-appealing to droves of young people... Too bad.
Britanica sucks, I hope wikipedia will put them out of them misery.
Very dull dry text, read by a monotone narrator.
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