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Forrest, Alan 1945–

Forrest, Alan 1945–

(Alan I. Forrest)

PERSONAL:

Born 1945. Education: University of Aberdeen, M.A.; University of Oxford, Ph.D.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, University of York, The King's Manor, Exhibition Sq., York YO1 7EP, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

University of York, York, England, professor of modern history, director of the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies. President of the International Commission on the History of the French Revolution, preparatory to the meeting of the World Historical Congress in Amsterdam in 2010.

WRITINGS:

Society and Politics in Revolutionary Bordeaux, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1975.

The French Revolution and the Poor, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1981.

Conscripts and Deserters: The Army and French Society during the Revolution and Empire, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1989.

The Soldiers of the French Revolution, Duke University Press (Durham, NC), 1990.

(Editor, with Peter Jones) Reshaping France: Town, Country, and Region during the French Revolution, Manchester University Press (New York, NY), 1991.

The French Revolution, Blackwell (Cambridge, MA), 1995.

The Revolution in Provincial France: Aquitaine, 1789-1799, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1996.

Napoleon's Men: The Soldiers of the Revolution and Empire, Hambledon & London (New York, NY), 2002.

Paris, the Provinces and the French Revolution, Arnold (London, England), 2004.

(Editor, with Malcolm Crook and William Doyle) Enlightenment and Revolution: Essays in Honour of Norman Hampson, Ashgate (Burlington, VT), 2004.

(Editor, with Philip G. Dwyer) Napoleon and His Empire: Europe, 1804-1814, Palgrave Macmillan (New York, NY), 2007.

(Editor, with Rafe Blaufarb and Karen Hagemann) War, Culture and Society, 1750-1850, Palgrave Macmillan (New York, NY), 2008.

Contributor to journals and to works by others, including The Political Culture of the French Revolution, edited by C. Lucas, Pergamon Press, 1988; and The Terror, edited by K.M. Baker, Pergamon Press, 1994.

Serves on the editorial boards of French History and War in History, and on the advisory committee of Annales historiques de la Révolution Française.

SIDELIGHTS:

As a historian on the faculty of the University of York, Alan Forrest has served as a professor of modern history and as director of the university's Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies. His particular interest is French history, including the period of the French Revolution and Empire, and the history of modern warfare. Forrest "is interested in the political culture of Revolutionary France, and in the concept of citizenship, especially as it affected ordinary people who found themselves forced into political decisions, often against their will, by a regime which demanded total commitment. This often gave rise to conflict, and he has studied that conflict in a number of different contexts—in the urban revolts against the Convention which are usually termed ‘federalism;’ in the social policies adopted towards the poor; and in the demands of the army for military service and conscription."

Forrest is the author of a number of volumes, including Conscripts and Deserters: The Army and French Society during the Revolution and Empire, his research for which is also applied in The Soldiers of the French Revolution. For the latter book, Forrest also draws on the work of others, particularly that of Jean-Paul Bertaud, in producing his study of the relationship of the Revolution's soldiers with the new state. Forrest notes the image of hero associated with these men, but also notes that they, not unlike other soldiers, were loyal to their units and fellow soldiers and sentimental about their homes. The focus of this volume is the early war years, rather than the later years when men more often remained to become professional soldiers.

Clive Emsley reviewed The Soldiers of the French Revolution in the English Historical Review, concluding that "overall this book provides a judicious and most readable account of its subject."

Forrest is the editor, with Peter Jones, of Reshaping France: Town, Country, and Region during the French Revolution, which is an account of provincial France from 1789 to 1799, as reflected in fifteen essays. M.S. Anderson, who reviewed the volume in the English Historical Review, felt that the narrower focus increases the history's value. Anderson commented on the contribution by Forrest, which he wrote "provides a substantial study of the persisting importance of regional loyalties; this illustrates well the centralizing tendencies of the revolutionaries and the resistance to them of the countryside they so often patronized and despised."

The focus of The Revolution in Provincial France: Aquitaine, 1789-1799 is also narrow, in that Forrest chooses to study one French province, beginning with the years before the revolution and continuing through the Directory. He contrasts the geographic differences of the regions, both rural and urban, coastal and interior, and the people who inhabited them. These included political differences and reactions to events such as the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, First Republic, Girondin uprising, and the Terror.

Cynthia S. Bisson reviewed the volume in the Historian, noting: "This study is an excellent addition to regional histories of the revolution…. Most importantly, The Revolution in Provincial France reminds us that this period was not only played out in Paris and provincial cities, but also in the most remote parts of the hexagon."

In Napoleon's Men: The Soldiers of the Revolution and Empire, Forrest studies the lives of the soldiers of the French army from 1792 to 1815 in an attempt to accurately portray for the reader what it meant to serve during this important period in French history. In doing so he relies on letters written by the soldiers themselves. He finds that most of the soldiers were enthusiastic in the early years of the Republic but that little was said regarding ideology or the emperor himself. They expressed the universal concerns of soldiers about the availability and quality of the food, their need for more money, and the hardships and boredom they experienced. People and places were mentioned, and the conscripted soldiers looked for news from home.

Rafe Blaufarb noted in the Historian that in this respect, they were different from the professional soldiers that preceded them. Their literacy was not developed, and their letters were often awkward, but "Forrest relies primarily on the soldiers' letters to fill in his canvass."

The theme of Paris, the Provinces and the French Revolution is the tensions that existed between Paris and the Provinces during this period. "Like all of Forrest's work, this book is gracefully written and thoughtful," commented Dale Lothrop Clifford in History: Review of New Books. "Its brevity suggests a textbook, but even advanced students will need preliminary reading to profit from this treatment."

Forrest is the editor, with Malcolm Crook and William Doyle, of Enlightenment and Revolution: Essays in Honour of Norman Hampson, a tribute that consists of essays by other eighteenth-century scholars, many of whom have known Hampson. Forrest is also the editor, with Philip G. Dwyer, of Napoleon and His Empire: Europe, 1804-1814, a collection of essays by Napoleonic historians who revisit traditional themes and consider newer research on such subjects as education, government, gender, and citizenship.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, June, 1982, review of The French Revolution and the Poor, p. 790; April, 1991, Jonathan M. House, review of Conscripts and Deserters: The Army and French Society during the Revolution and Empire, p. 529; June, 1991, Sam Scott, review of The Soldiers of the French Revolution, p. 884; June, 1998, Hubert C. Johnson, review of The Revolution in Provincial France: Aquitaine, 1789-1799, p. 906.

Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, November, 1991, Jeffrey Merrick, review of Conscripts and Deserters, p. 198.

Armed Forces & Society, spring, 1991, John Fells, review of Conscripts and Deserters, p. 459.

Canadian Journal of History, April, 1991, D.M.G. Sutherland, review of The Soldiers of the French Revolution, p. 114.

Choice, September, 1997, review of The Revolution in Provincial France, p. 204; June, 2003, review of Napoleon's Men: The Soldiers of the Revolution and Empire, p. 1816; January, 2005, C.A. Gliozzo, review of Paris, the Provinces and the French Revolution, p. 922.

English Historical Review, February, 1994, Clive Emsley, review of The Soldiers of the French Revolution, p. 208; November, 1994, M.S. Anderson, review of Reshaping France: Town, Country, and Region during the French Revolution, p. 1292; February, 2005, Martyn Lyons, review of Enlightenment and Revolution: Essays in Honour of Norman Hampson, p. 150.

European History Quarterly, January, 2006, Noelle L. Plack, review of Paris, the Provinces and the French Revolution, p. 119; July, 2007, Ronald Schechter, review of Enlightenment and Revolution, p. 469.

Historian, summer, 1991, Kenneth Margerison, review of Conscripts and Deserters, spring, 1999, Cynthia S. Bisson, review of The Revolution in Provincial France, p. 708; fall, 2004, Rafe Blaufarb, review of Napoleon's Men, p. 618; spring, 2006, Douglas Palmer, review of Paris, the Provinces and the French Revolution, p. 184.

History: Review of New Books, summer, 2005, Dale Lothrop Clifford, review of Paris, the Provinces and the French Revolution, p. 156.

History: The Journal of the Historical Association, June, 1991, Nora Temple, review of Conscripts and Deserters, p. 324; June, 1991, Nora Temple, review of The Soldiers of the French Revolution, p. 324; October, 1996, R.D. Anderson, review of The French Revolution, p. 684; January, 2000, Mike Rapport, review of The Revolution in Provincial France, p. 170.

History Today, September, 1981, Olwen Hufton, review of The French Revolution and the Poor, p. 53.

International History Review, August, 1991, review of The Soldiers of the French Revolution, p. 572; November, 1991, review of Conscripts and Deserters, p. 820; September, 2003, Owen Connelly, review of Napoleon's Men, p. 662.

Journal of Interdisciplinary History, summer, 1993, Paul R. Hanson, review of Reshaping France, p. 140.

Journal of Military History, October, 1990, John A. Lynn, review of Conscripts and Deserters, p. 497; October, 1991, Edwin L. Dooley, review of The Soldiers of the French Revolution, p. 533; July, 2003, Isser Woloch, review of Napoleon's Men, p. 937.

Journal of Modern History, June, 1992, Isser Woloch, reviews of Conscripts and Deserters and The Soldiers of the French Revolution, p. 402; September, 1994, Gail Bossenga, review of Reshaping France, p. 604; September, 1999, Howard G. Brown, review of The Revolution in Provincial France, p. 708; September, 2004, Gunther E. Rothenberg, review of Napoleon's Men, p. 663; June, 2006, Donald M.G. Sutherland, review of Paris, the Provinces and the French Revolution, p. 494.

Journal of Social History, fall, 1991, Susan P. Conner, review of Conscripts and Deserters, p. 135.

Library Journal, May 1, 1981, David Gordon, review of The French Revolution and the Poor, p. 972.

Social History, May, 1999, Gail Bossenga, review of The Revolution in Provincial France, p. 225.

Times Literary Supplement, May 25, 1990, William Scott, review of Conscripts and Deserters, p. 561; February 28, 1997, Gwynne Lewis, review of The Revolution in Provincial France, p. 30.

ONLINE

University of York Web site,http://www.york.ac.uk/ (April 20, 2008), author biography.

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