Robespierre and the Fourth Estate

$3.75 By Ralph KorngoldMODERN AGE

THIS book deserves all praise as the ablest, most searching, and most judicial treatment of its subject that we have ever seen. It is a study of Rousseau’s disciple, the great champion of the Fourth Estate, the masses, the proletariat — a champion by sincere conviction, moreover, not a champion for revenue only. It also gives what we think is the most complete, concise, and accurate account ever given by an English-speaking writer of the course of the real Revolution, the Jacobin revolution, down to its end in July 1794. In this respect the book is a model of editorial skill and judgment. It is also a model for biographers throughout, in presenting only such details of Robespierre’s personal life as are pertinent, and presenting them without a superfluous word. No book that we know of can be more profitably read by Americans at the present time. Hardly a character in it, hardly a situation, but has its faithful reproduction in contemporary public life; hence, taken as a demonstration of cause and effect, it is not especially cheerful reading. Yet if we are as patriotic as we think we are — or think we think we are — that is the way it should be taken. If a hundred thousand Americans read this book — really read it, not merely turned its pages — America’s prospects would be much brighter than they are. A. J. N.