Massacre: The Life and Death of the Paris Commune
The Paris Commune is considered by many historians to be the last gasp of revolutionary ferment in Europe, brutally repressed by the reactionary forces that did not want it to succeed. In the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871, the Paris Commune was a reaction to the failure of the government to achieve any sort of victory against the Prussians. With social unrest coming to a boil, Paris exploded and for a brief moment the Commune reigned in the City of Light. But the more conservative forces were not going to let it slide, and they invaded Paris and inflicted a brutal repression on anyone thought to be involved. It was the ultimate class warfare between the working class and the more upper-middle class. It became a struggle for survival, and ultimately for French identity.
John Merriman does a good job bringing to life the Commune and explaining why it did not work and ultimately ended up in an ocean of blood. The writing is quick, clear, and to the point. Even though the forces of freedom failed, this is a well-written book.