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A French genocide : the Vendée / Reynald Secher ; translated by George Holoch.

By: Secher, Reynald.
Material type: TextTextPublisher: Notre Dame, Ind. : University of Notre Dame Press, c2003Description: xiv, 305 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm.ISBN: 0268028656 (cloth : alk. paper); 9780268028657 (cloth : alk. paper).Uniform titles: Génocide franco-français. English Subject(s): France -- History -- Wars of the Vendée, 1793-1832 -- Atrocities | Church and state -- France -- Vendée -- History -- 18th century | Vendée (France) -- History | France -- History -- Revolution, 1789-1799 -- Influence | Vendée (France) -- Church history -- 18th centuryAdditional physical formats: Online version:: French genocide.DDC classification: 944.6104 LOC classification: DC218 | .S43313 2003Other classification: NO 3200
Contents:
Hope -- First revolutionay accomplishments -- End of the honeymoon -- Mistakes of the central government and the excesses of the administration -- Role of the refractory clergy in the resistance -- March toward war -- War begins -- Confrontation between legitimacy and legality in the same territory -- Political incoherence -- Living conditions of the Vendeans -- Local authorities confront their conscience -- Legitimacy of the clery and its activity -- Problem -- Human aspect -- Assessment of property destruction.
Review: "A French Genocide: The Vendee provides a detailed narrative of the civil war in the Vendee region of western France, which lasted for much of the 1790s but was most intensely fought at the height of the Reign of Terror, from March 1793 to early 1795. In this book, Reynald Secher argues that the massacres which resulted from the conflict between "patriotic" revolutionary forces and those of the counter-revolution were not the inevitable result of fierce battle, but rather were "premeditated, committed in cold blood, massive and systematic, and undertaken with the conscious and proclaimed will to destroy a well-defined region, and to exterminate an entire people." Drawing upon previously unavailable sources, Secher argues that more than 14 percent of the population and 18 percent of the housing stock in the Vendee was destroyed in this catastrophic conflict." "Secher's review of the social and political structure of the region presents a dramatically different image of the people of the Vendee than the stereotype common among historians favorable to the French Revolution. He demonstrates that they were not archaic and superstitious or even necessarily adverse to the forward-looking forces of the Revolution. Rather, the region turned against the Revolution because of a series of misguided policy choices that failed to satisfy the desire for reform and offended the religious sensibilities of the Vendeans." "Using an array of primary sources, many from provincial archives, including personal accounts and statistical data, Secher argues for a demythologized view of the French Revolution. Contrary to most twentieth-century academic accounts of the Revolution, which have either ignored, apologized for, or explained away the Vendee, Secher demonstrates that the vicious nature of this civil war is a key element that forces us to reconsider the revolutionary regime."--BOOK JACKET.
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Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
DC218 .S43313 2003 (Browse shelf) Available 0000002011625

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Hope -- First revolutionay accomplishments -- End of the honeymoon -- Mistakes of the central government and the excesses of the administration -- Role of the refractory clergy in the resistance -- March toward war -- War begins -- Confrontation between legitimacy and legality in the same territory -- Political incoherence -- Living conditions of the Vendeans -- Local authorities confront their conscience -- Legitimacy of the clery and its activity -- Problem -- Human aspect -- Assessment of property destruction.

Translated from the French.

"A French Genocide: The Vendee provides a detailed narrative of the civil war in the Vendee region of western France, which lasted for much of the 1790s but was most intensely fought at the height of the Reign of Terror, from March 1793 to early 1795. In this book, Reynald Secher argues that the massacres which resulted from the conflict between "patriotic" revolutionary forces and those of the counter-revolution were not the inevitable result of fierce battle, but rather were "premeditated, committed in cold blood, massive and systematic, and undertaken with the conscious and proclaimed will to destroy a well-defined region, and to exterminate an entire people." Drawing upon previously unavailable sources, Secher argues that more than 14 percent of the population and 18 percent of the housing stock in the Vendee was destroyed in this catastrophic conflict." "Secher's review of the social and political structure of the region presents a dramatically different image of the people of the Vendee than the stereotype common among historians favorable to the French Revolution. He demonstrates that they were not archaic and superstitious or even necessarily adverse to the forward-looking forces of the Revolution. Rather, the region turned against the Revolution because of a series of misguided policy choices that failed to satisfy the desire for reform and offended the religious sensibilities of the Vendeans." "Using an array of primary sources, many from provincial archives, including personal accounts and statistical data, Secher argues for a demythologized view of the French Revolution. Contrary to most twentieth-century academic accounts of the Revolution, which have either ignored, apologized for, or explained away the Vendee, Secher demonstrates that the vicious nature of this civil war is a key element that forces us to reconsider the revolutionary regime."--BOOK JACKET.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

The rural populace of western France suffered greatly at the hands of the Jacobin zealots who took control of the country in 1793. In fact, it is French historian Secher's (Juifs et Vendeens) contention that the merciless Committee of Public Safety initiated a deliberate genocidal policy of extermination that eliminated over 14 percent of the population and 18 percent of the dwellings in the pastoral region commonly known as the Vend?e. It was in March 1793 that the pious Vendean peasantry rose up against the enforcement of anticlerical edicts issued by the convention. After initial successes, the rebellion was crushed. Secher belongs to a school of French historians who view the French Revolution as the godfather of the harsh leftist regimes of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot, and his work is a major contribution to this point of view. Through an exhaustive examination of obscure departmental archives and private parish records, Secher certainly proves that the French Reign of Terror was not restricted to the streets of Paris. While few contemporary historians would deny the bloody excesses of the civil war in the Vend?e, Secher's use of the term genocide may raise a few scholarly eyebrows. For a countervailing viewpoint, see Alain Gerard's "Par principe d'humanite-: la Terreur et la Vendee." Secher's work is recommended for graduate level collections in academic libraries.-Jim Doyle, Sara Hightower Regional Lib., Rome, GA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

CHOICE Review

The uprising in the Vendee against the First French Republic has been understood mainly through the accounts of republican partisans. Businessman-scholar Secher (the volume was his thesis) seeks to redress this imbalance using an array of primary sources--mostly communal and departmental archives---to argue the thesis encapsulated in the volume's title. He argues that the Vendee was not the backward, superstition-ridden territory as so often described by republican apologists. In fact, the inhabitants were originally supporters of the revolution; the region moved to open rebellion only after a series of decisions by the central government that stifled genuine reform and outraged local religious sensibilities. Once the rebellion began, the government authorized the national army to use terror and the utmost brutality to put down this counterrevolution, a recipe followed with alacrity by several revolutionary generals whose butcher's bill reached 117,000. Secher's case would have been buttressed by a full bibliography, a brief historiography of his subject, and a more balanced account of the atrocities perpetrated by all sides. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Important for all collections; accessible to general readers; of great interest to specialists. G. P. Cox Gordon College

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Reynald Secher is a scholar, businessman, and author of several books and articles. He produces historical videos, and is a specialist in the field of identity and national memory

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