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Fighting the French Revolution (Hardback)

The Great Vendée Rising of 1793

Military > French Revolutionary Wars

By Rob Harper
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 376
Illustrations: 20
ISBN: 9781473868960
Published: 30th January 2019



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In 1793 France was facing foreign invasion along its borders and a fierce political war was raging in Paris when a large-scale revolt, centred on the western Department of the Vendée, suddenly erupted, almost bringing the new-born French Republic to its knees.

The immediate trigger for this Great War of the Vendée, barely known outside of France, was the attempted imposition of conscription but the region seethed at the erosion of its traditional values and way of life. The persecution of the Catholic Church and killing of the king symbolized to the Vendéens how dangerous the new Republic had become; in a matter of weeks tens of thousands had flocked to fight for the ‘Catholic and Royal’ cause.

This is the story of the new Republic’s ferocious military campaigns against the armies of the Vendée, which fiercely defied them between March and December 1793, tying down hundreds of thousands of troops desperately needed on the frontiers. Napoleon later called it ‘The War of Giants’ and it directly led to the implementation of some of the Republic’s most extreme laws.

This is an excellent military history of the fighting in 1793, which helps bring home just how a big a threat this uprising posed to the French Republic and how much effort had to go into putting it down.

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History of War

... when measured by the goals the author sets for himself, the work is clearly a successful contribution to the existing literature, particularly for those readers limited to the English language.

Journal of Military History, Society for Military History - reviewed by Jordan R. Hayworth

As featured by

VaeVictis - n° 144 - mars/avril 2019

Rob Harper’s book tells the fascinating story of one particular incident that occurred when the French revolution had more or less finished and the various factions were jockeying for position in the new Republic. Fascinating stuff.

Books Monthly

'Pen & Sword Books have some great new releases for your book shelf. We have picked out the best'

Waterside, 10th April 2019 (pages 52 & 53)

Harper provides detailed accounts of just about every key engagement that occurred between Royalist and republican forces... They point to some solid research by Harper.

Read the full review here

Penniless Press

For those of us who tend to focus on the wars of Napoleonic France this book offers an interesting diversion into a conflict that was instrumental in forming some of the conditions that impacted the later conflicts in which France felt compelled to partake. As with all revolutions, the enemy within is as problematic as the enemy outside the borders. Indeed the enemy within can help focus and justify actions to stiffen the revolution. So it was with the Vendee Rising and this book has a well written narrative, good maps and supporting images. Enjoyable read.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About Rob Harper

Rob Harper has a degree in History and has worked for nearly thirty years as a specialist in the preservation of historic buildings. His particular passions are for the history of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras and Early Modern military buildings, which happily coincide with his current work on major heritage projects in the Portsmouth Harbour area, a locale closely linked with the Napoleonic wars. His deep interest in the counter revolution was sparked by a visit to the Vendée over twenty years ago and he has devoted much of his spare time to researching it ever since. He has written numerous articles for heritage magazines and wargaming magazines. He lives in Fareham, Hampshire.

Perfect Partner

The Real Story of the French Revolution Separating Myth From Reality  (Hardback)

The French Revolution was a period of radical political and societal change in the eighteenth century. Everyone knows about the guillotine and the grisly processions of tumbrils, but less is generally appreciated about the much greater violence in provincial France. This book examines the beliefs and assumptions about the French Revolution which have become popularised in films and novels but also accepted in standard accounts to see if they stand up to scrutiny. There is no attempt to deny the intense drama of the whole revolutionary period but rather to separate myth and reality. There are chapters…

By Mike Wells

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