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You say you want a [book on] Revolution?

Reflections on the Revolution in France - Edmund Burke, L.G. Mitchell

I gave it my best. I really tried... got 60 pages in and looked ahead, to realize it wasn't going to get any better. Short encapsulation: Burke was a monarchist who made his living kissing the asses of the British nobility. His "reflections" on the French Revolution consist of dismissing any and all claims of abuse or corruption on the part of the French aristocracy, and heaping on cherry-picked examples of good deeds done by assorted kings as proof that monarchy is the one and only "correct" form of government. I can't give you a page #, but somewhere in there, he says that "rule by kings is the only form of government pleasing to God" (or something thereabouts).  Check, please.

Skimming ahead, it's 250 pages of more of the same. From what I could glean, Burke doesn't even get around to criticizing the extreme violence of the French Revolution. It's just a load of monarch-apologist propaganda... suitable for lining a bird cage or wrapping fish, not much more.


Added to all the above is the fact that Burke has a tendency towards overlong compound sentences. Some of them run more than half a page. While some writers (I'm thinking Faulkner in particular) can make beautiful prose of this, Burke can not. These paragraph-long monstrosities are confusing as hell, and I frequently found myself looking back to see what the original point of the sentence was.


So disappointed. This thing is supposed to be a classic.