...a fresh and fair-minded account of the revolution overflowing with vivid narrative detail and clear exposition. Above all, Mr. Popkin stresses the critical role that the common people of France played (both for better and for worse) in the revolutionary drama ... It is a decided strength of A New World Begins that it doesn’t end in 1799 but in 1804, when Napoleon, a onetime supporter of the Jacobins, crowned himself emperor of the French.
...brilliant ... Tracing the course of the Revolution from its underlying causes to the destruction of the republic by Napoleon, this book covers quite a lot of material in a highly readable way. The short, tightly organized chapters are enhanced by maps, contemporary political cartoons, and period images ... A must-read for scholars, historians, academics, and students of politics.
What makes a good history book? Subject matter? Writing style? ... Whatever your answer may be, Jeremy D. Popkin's A New World Begins qualifies ... A New World Begins does a great job of defining and describing the existing polity, the catalyst that tears it apart, and the resulting new condition that replaces it ... Given the litany of events and many personalities, the book demands analysis, not just a synopsis of events, and here Popkin has done a superb job ... Popkin does an excellent job of adding context to decisions and actions that allow us to understand how this unknown lieutenant became Emperor Napoleon. Certainly, my favorite part of the book is the characters ... each person adds to the story and is animated with thought, appearance and will ... a comprehensive, well-written journey through this thrilling period.