By David Lawday
Published Jan 2010
A beefy six-foot bull of a man, with a rude farmyard face to match, Georges-Jacques Danton was destined to bring a violent end to an absolute monarchy that had ruled for a thousand years. But it was not his alarming physique that placed him at the head of the French Revolution. His weapon of revolt was his voice – a perpetual roll of thunder that spurred men to action without his quite knowing where he intended to drive them. To hear Danton was to hear the heartbeat of revolution. Together with the puritanical Robespierre – his rival to death and in most every way his opposite – Danton brought about something rare in history: a change in the human social order.
With prose that is immediate and engaging, Lawday examines the personalities and the associations that inspired and fuelled the Revolution. But Danton was to become a victim of Revolution himself, facing the guillotine at the age of thirty-four. The power of Danton’s oratory, and his charismatic appeal, led him to the centre of power at the height of a period of turbulent change and ensured his lasting renown as a true man of the people.