What did we think before that?
In his review of the book in the April 22, 1965 edition of the New York Review
of books, Eric Hobsbawm apparently tells us that:
It may seem incredible that nobody tried before to discover what sort of people
actually stormed the Bastille, but Rudé is the first to have done so.On
web page about the book we read more or less the same thing, though at greater
Who took part in the widespread disturbances
which periodically shook eighteenth-century London? What really motivated the
food rioters who helped to spark off the French Revolution? How did the movement
of agricultural labourers destroying new machinery spread from one village to
another in the English countryside? How did the sans-culottes organise in revolutionary
profile on Rude puts the author, and his work, in an interesting historical
George Rude was the first historian to ask such questions and
in doing so he identified ‘the faces in the crowd’ in some of the crucial episodes
in modern European history.
Frankly, from a distance of 40 years, it really does seem
rather incredible that he was the first. Though for many years I haven't read
many history books, I can't seem to recall when any of those that I last read
were "political histories" rather than "social histories".
Go to: Are
crowds really that smart?