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David A. Bell is the Sidney and Ruth Lapidus Professor in the Department of History at Princeton. His latest book is Men on Horseback: The Power of Charisma in the Age of Revolution. (February 2024)
An Unlikely Life
Ridley Scott’s Napoleon is a biopic that manages to omit or distort most of the central elements of Napoleon’s life and career.
a film directed by Ridley Scott
February 22, 2024 issue
The more that historians make their own experiences an explicit part of their work, the harder it will become to let the sources speak clearly.
Singular Pasts: The “I” in Historiography
by Enzo Traverso, translated from the French by Adam Schoene
History and Human Flourishing
edited by Darrin M. McMahon
June 22, 2023 issue
Although Esther da Costa Meyer deplores the human costs of urban renewal in Paris during the Second Empire, she cannot disguise her appreciation for what was accomplished.
Dividing Paris: Urban Renewal and Social Inequality, 1852–1870
by Esther da Costa Meyer
August 18, 2022 issue
The End of the Terror
Colin Jones gives an hour-by-hour account of the Ninth of Thermidor, a day that marked a turning point in the French Revolution.
The Fall of Robespierre: 24 Hours in Revolutionary Paris
by Colin Jones
March 10, 2022 issue
Tyler Stovall demonstrates the potent and noxious ways that people have conflated freedom with whiteness but pays too little attention to the force of freedom as a concept.
White Freedom: The Racial History of an Idea
by Tyler Stovall
September 23, 2021 issue
A Haunted Patrimony
Through their art collecting wealthy Jews staked a claim to being French, but the nation they loved savagely betrayed them.
The House of Fragile Things: Jewish Art Collectors and the Fall of France
by James McAuley
July 1, 2021 issue
The Duchess & the Jews
The Betrayal of the Duchess: The Scandal That Unmade the Bourbon Monarchy and Made France Modern
by Maurice Samuels
September 24, 2020 issue
Did Britain Win the American Revolution?
To Begin the World Over Again: How the American Revolution Devastated the Globe
by Matthew Lockwood
April 23, 2020 issue
The Contagious Revolution
In 1791 enslaved people in the French Caribbean colony of Saint-Domingue—now called Haiti—staged the largest and most successful slave revolt in history.
The Common Wind: Afro-American Currents in the Age of the Haitian Revolution
by Julius S. Scott, with a foreword by Marcus Rediker
Maroon Nation: A History of Revolutionary Haiti
by Johnhenry Gonzalez
December 19, 2019 issue
From Readers to Revolutionaries
A Literary Tour de France: The World of Books on the Eve of the French Revolution
by Robert Darnton
June 27, 2019 issue
The Many Lives of Liberalism
Three new books illuminate the fragile nature of the ideas underlying rights-based liberal democracy.
Can Democracy Work?: A Short History of a Radical Idea, from Ancient Athens to Our World
by James Miller
The Lost History of Liberalism: From Ancient Rome to the Twenty-First Century
by Helena Rosenblatt
On the Spirit of Rights
by Dan Edelstein
January 17, 2019 issue
‘Pity Is Treason’
A Genealogy of Terror in Eighteenth-Century France
by Ronald Schechter
June 28, 2018 issue
A Very Different French Revolution
Revolutionary Ideas: An Intellectual History of the French Revolution from The Rights of Man to Robespierre
by Jonathan Israel
July 10, 2014 issue