The ideology of the Great Fear : the Soissonnais in 1789 /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Ramsay, Clay
Imprint:Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, c1992.
Description:xxxi, 311 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm.
Series:Johns Hopkins University studies in historical and political science 109th ser., 2
Subject:Revolution (France : 1789-1799)
Fear -- France -- Soissons Region -- History -- 18th century.
Peasant uprisings -- France -- Soissons Region -- History -- 18th century.
Economic history.
Peasant uprisings.
Soissons Region (France) -- History.
France -- History -- Revolution, 1789-1799
Soissons Region (France) -- Militia -- History.
Soissons Region (France) -- Economic conditions.
France -- Soissons Region.
Format: Print Book
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Notes:Includes bibliographical references (p. 289-302) and index.
Review by Choice Review

Georges Lefebvre provided the classic account (1932) of the Great Fear, the mass hysteria that swept rural France in the summer of 1789. Now a young scholar has scrutinized the archival records of the intendancy of Soissons, northeast of Paris, correcting Lefebvre's overemphasis on an "aristocratic conspiracy" as well as his identification of brigands with the rural poor. Ramsey argues that far from being anti-aristocratic, the Fear bound together all social levels in rural communities, not against the "legitimate" poor but against "outsiders." He also describes the tentative attempts at accomodation between the Old Regime and the Revolution. Although admitting intellectual descent from the "orthodox" Lefebvre-Soboul school and inspired by the Marxist Gramsci, this is no doctrinaire account, but a skillful and well-documented examination of agrarian society, its food supply, the vocabulary of the Fear, and the role of militias in public order, as well as a whimsical account of the sole example of an attack on a noble chateau. Ramsay's fine study should be part of any collection on the French Revolution. Highly recommended.-D. C. Baxter, Ohio University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Choice Review