Page 3 of 4 -1234

Archive for the ‘French Revolution’ Category

Ollivier Hunt at the chateau of L Isle-Adam

Louis XVI, the Royal Hunt and Bastille Day

When Louis XVI wrote in his diary Rien (“Nothing”) on July 14, 1789, it did not mean that the King was oblivious to the events in Paris. On the contrary he had taken measures to prevent the unrest, in particular by posting foreign regiments in and around the capital. Those measures proved unsuccessful, and even […]

Print Friendly



Jefferson 1791

Thomas Jefferson reports on Bastille Day

The website of the National Archives posts this letter sent on July 19, 1789 by Thomas Jefferson, then Ambassador of the young United States to France, to John Jay, Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Jefferson, though not an eyewitness to the storming of the Bastille, reports on the event five days later. He wonders why the 5,000 […]

Print Friendly



Storming of the Bastille

The 14th of July 1789: what really happened on Bastille Day?

First let’s put things in context. In 1789 France had been for decades in the grips of a budget crisis. It was due to the country’s absurd tax structure, and had recently been aggravated by the French support of the American Independence War. King Louis XVI, in order to implement new taxes, had called a […]

Print Friendly



Marie Antoinette PBS

“Marie-Antoinette and the French Revolution” on PBS: history lite

I have not seen the PBS film, and can’t comment on it, but the site is worth a visit. It is lavishly illustrated, and I found the parts on Versailles particularly interesting. The site also includes interviews of British historians Simon Schama and Lady Antonia Fraser. No French scholars? Not even Simone Bertiere, who is, […]

Print Friendly



General Thomas Alexandre Dumas

General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, father of Alexandre Dumas

I began writing a post about the novelist Alexandre Dumas, one of France’s most beloved and popular writers, when I realized that it was impossible to do so without first mentioning his father, General Dumas. Thomas Alexandre, no last name (slaves had none) was born in 1762 in Saint-Domingue, modern-day Haiti, the son of the […]

Print Friendly



Marie Antoinette court dress Vigee Lebrun

Marie-Antoinette: the destiny of a Queen

The Marie-Antoinette exhibition at the Grand Palais was so vast and complex that I wanted to let my impressions settle a bit before consigning them to cyberspace. The part of Marie-Antoinette’s life that was least familiar to me was her childhood in Vienna. In this regard the exhibition does a very good job of evoking […]

Print Friendly



David Bonaparte crossing the Alps

My second novel: For The King

I am often asked whether it is a sequel to Mistress of the Revolution. The answer is no. The characters of my first novel had such a grip of my mind that I needed to establish some distance, at least for a while. But my readers will recognize the same setting, the familiar streets of […]

Print Friendly



It all started with book covers: a discussion with a Robespierriste reader

This exchange exceeded the iron-clad 3,000 character limit for comments, set by my blogging software. Yet it seemed a pity not to publish Suzanne Levin’s remarks, which I found most interesting. I certainly look forward to reading her historical novel when it is completed. Suzanne’s continued remarks regarding my prior book cover post (I recommend […]

Print Friendly



Maximilien Robespierre

No One Likes Armed Missionaries

The most extravagant idea that can take root in the head of a politician is to believe that it is enough for one people to invade a foreign people to make it adopt its laws and constitution. No one likes armed missionaries; and the first advice given by nature and prudence is to repel them […]

Print Friendly



No need to romance the stone: the Hope Diamond and the French Revolution

It sometimes happens that objects, like people, have fascinating destinies. Such is certainly the case of the blue gem now known as the Hope Diamond. The story begins in 17th century India, in the legendary mines of Golconda. A blue diamond weighing an astonishing 115 carats was discovered there. For those of you unfamiliar with […]

Print Friendly



Page 3 of 4 -1234