J'ai très apprécié ce livre qui est écrit dans un anglais remarquable. Il passe en revue toute la vie de Robespierre sans aucun jugement moral, comme tout historien digne de ce nom doit le faire. L'auteur met très bien en exergue la contradiction n°1 de l'Incorruptible : l'exigence de vertu qui conduit à une intransigeance criminelle. Le livre mérite tout à fait les commentaires élogieux des critiques.
Néanmoins, l'auteur aurait pu évoquer les ventes des biens de l'Eglise à partir de 1790 en mettant en lumière les combines de gens sans scrupules comme Cambon (futur grand adversaire de Robespierre) qui se sont copieusement servis. Quand on sait que, pour certains auteurs, le rôle de la propriété privée et la volonté de tous les acteurs de la Révolution de garder intactes toutes leurs richesses personnelles (plus ou moins bien acquises) sont des clés majeures dans la compréhension de la Révolution, cette absence est un peu regrettable.
le 7 décembre 2015
Interesting. This book finally made me understand the paradox of this man who was a strongly against death penalty yet sent thousands to the guillotine. The author unfortunately ended up being very partial to Robespierre, quick to defend him and very quickly going over the river of blood he was responsible for. Sadly, the only documents from Robespierre himself the book bases itself on are all the speeches Robespierre spent hours writing. I would have preferred over documents which could have given us more an idea about the true nature of this man.
le 17 août 2012
Pour une française qui a appris l'histoire de la Révolution à l'école, ce livre n'apporte pas grand chose. J'espérais une analyse vraiment psychologique de Robespierre : ce n'est pas le cas. Et traduites en anglais, certaines expressions manquent de panache. Par exemple :le Serment Jeu de Paume est traduit par Tennis Court Oath ...
le 31 janvier 2012
It was thanks to David Lawday's wonderful book on Talleyrand that I decided to read his DANTON (2009). This naturally led to Ruth Scurr's equally marvelous book on Robespierre, FATAL PURITY (2006). Robespierre was a pale Ichabod Crane with the asceticism of a monk; Danton, hideously ugly, had the animal needs of what Americans might call a red-blooded fullback. What strikes one is the total devotion of both men to republican ideals and their unswerving belief in the virtue of the people, upon whom all power should be conferred, sentiments which should normally have placed both men among the greatest humanists the world has known. Next I was struck by the hatred the Conventioneers had for the nobility and the clergy, one of whom quoted Diderot's words, ''The people will never be happy until the last monarch is strangled with the guts of the last priest.'' Striking too was the fact that the first constitution laid the foundation of a constitutional monarchy, giving Louis the right to veto any bill, and that this constitution was renewed even after the king had tried to flee from France. Only massacres perpetrated by the people led to Louis' eventual beheading, and even then he was condemned by a single vote, 361 out of 721. Marie Antoinette was separated from her son after being accused of incest, and on the day of her beheading the Commune offered the boy a toy guillotine. Due to the massacres perpetrated by mobs, Danton called for the Terror in hopes of restoring order by diverting the attention of the people, thereby assuaging their thirst for bloodbaths. He deeply regretted his decision when he found himself at the foot of the guillotine. Robespierre soon followed him, dying in such a manner that his death leaves one feeling sick, a tribute to Scurr's art. Two deaths out of the thousands of innocents who suffered, among them 43 orphans, children guilty of nothing, massacred during the Terror by the mob. And all for what? A few years later the same mob would be shouting Vive l'Empereur, followed by Vive le Roi, (with the advent of Louis XVIII), then came another emperor, then other kings and still another emperor. Some may shed a tear for Danton; most would applaud the extermination of Robespierre, a reaction that would have left him totally indifferent. DANTON and FATAL PURITY are incredibly powerful books about incredibly powerful times.