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The Contentious French: Four Centuries of Popular Struggle

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by Charles Tilly

  • The Contentious French: Four Centuries of Popular Struggle
    Charles Tilly - Harvard University Press, 1986 – 456pp - £21.50

Sitting in the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, poring over archives of seventeenth-century sedition, Charles Tilly was interrupted by the sounds of a Dijon student demonstration of 1975. Thus opens his handsome new book, a compendium of what the author calls 'contention' in France over four hundred years. Although a note on the jacket describes it as both 'provocative and convincing', neither term seems exactly right for what is certainly a very rich and ambitious synthesis of evidence collected over a period of at least ten and at most thirty years.

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