You never know what you will come across in the DC public library as I bone up for a trip to France. This is a story of the Paris commune in 1871 created after the buffoonish Napolean Iii was defeated in the battle of Sedan and forced to sign a humiliating peace treaty with the Prussians who were uniting Germany and given notice that they were the new bullies in the neighborhood. The Prussians waited outside of Paris for the capitulation and when the French got their backs up to resist, they began to shell Paris before the harsh peace was secured. The rabble of Paris were having nothing of this and no sooner than the surrender documents were signed, that they rose in revolt as they had earlier in 1789 and in 1848. They proclaimed a commune and the French government proceeded to lay siege on Paris a second time in the year, Frenchmen now killing Frenchmen. The Germans allowed the French to increase their allotted numbers and together with the general incompetence of the communards,They retook the city massacring at least 25,000. Karl Marx watched from London and blamed the lack of discipline and ruthlessness for the failure of the revolt. Lenin took note and in 1917 during the Bolshevick uprising. He vowed not to make the same mistakes.
This book is a sketch of events and is no work of art. It is full of period lithographs which are ameteurish. But without any other readily available accounts, I was happy for the education.
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