This textbook has been written to help teachers and students to pilot their way through the enormous and ever expanding literature on the French Revolution. The author makes a conscious effort to combine social and political interpretations of the origins of the Revolution and offers a synthesis which takes full account of current debates. He also seeks to restore the Revolution to its domestic environment. Notwithstanding the powerful contemporary myth of rupture, the author argues that the dramatic events of 1789 need to be considered alongside the reform achievements of Bourbon absolute monarchy. The result is a new account of the gestation of the Revolution which is both up-to-date and satisfying in its range of vision.
"[Jones'] trenchant analysis of the governmental, social, and economic structure of pre-Revolutionary France is clear and nuanced...This brief summary cannot do justice to the persuasive arguments and rich detail which Jones's book offers. It deserves a place on the bookshelves of specialists and undergraduates alike." The Historian "Reform and Revolution in France displays the best qualities of a textbook; it is carefully organized, crisply written and very up-to-date...This brief summary cannot do justice to the persuasive arguments and rich detail that Jones's book offers. It deserves a place on the bookshelves of specialists and undergraduates alike." James Friguglietti, The Historian "Jones's work is commendable on many grounds: it synthesizes well so many complex cultural and religious strains in the early seventeenth century that form the character, vision, and ecclesiastical activity of this leader in the diocese of Milan. Borromeo, too is a significant personality for any student of the post-Tridentine era, for he not only knew nearly every major actor in his day and absorbed the intellectual and spiritual energies in his milieu, but he invested heavily his own resources in an institution that sought to promote many genres of art on a amjor scale and to make these public for the salvation of souls." Frederick J. McGinnes, The Catholic Historical Review