People's Armies

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People's Armies
The 'People's Armies' of eighteenth-century France were an instrument of the Reign of Terror. Civilian rather than military armies, they were created to obtain food and military equipment from the reluctant and frequently anti-revolutionary rural populace in order to supply the towns and the soldiers fighting on the frontiers. Composed of urban, highly politicized 'sans-culottes', they interacted with rural villages in a way that reflected the age-old conflict between town and country. This classic book by the famed historian Richard Cobb describes the clash between the swaggering, insubordinate 'sans-culottes' and the crafty villagers and in so doing, provides important insighyts into aspects of the social and administrative history of the French Revolution. 'The People's Armies' was first published in France in 1961 and has now been translated into English by Marianne Elliott. This book was Cobb's first major work and is still generally regarded as his most important contribution to French history. It illustrates all those characteristics that have come to be seen as typical of Cobb's distinctive historical style: the concern with local colour and variation, the vignettes that evoke in vivid detail all the hues of daily life at the time of the French Revolution, and, most of all, the sound basis of detailed and wide-ranging research. The book has had a profound influence on the study of the French Revolution and is still unsurpassed as a history of an important institution of the period of Revolutionary government in France. Richard Cobb was professor of modern European history at Oxford University.
Publication Date: 
November 1, 1987