The Voice of Virtue

Sacred Fool Quartet #2: The Fool as Revolutionary
by Otto Scott
Hardcover, 266 pages
Not in stock

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It is a perverse but almost inescapable phenomenon in the history of violent revolutions that after the first heroic days a colorless bureaucrat will inherit the mantle of leadership. In the Russian Revolution, Lenin was followed by a plodding Stalin rather than a dazzling Trotsky. Even after the American Revolution the celebrated Jefferson barely made it into office between two party regulars.

The French Revolution was no exception. After the genius and idealism of Mirabeau, Danton, and others who had created the Revolution, it fell into the hands of an unscrupulous and sententious bourgeois lawyer who had been lost among the back benches of the first Estates General. Like Stalin, however, Robespierre rose through tireless party service and meticulous attention to detail and finally by the execution of men much his superior who had been the real heroes of the Revolution. Unlike Stalin, however, Robespierre was a brilliant orator and was to be destroyed on the guillotine of the very terror he had created to eliminate his rivals.

In Robespierre: The Voice of Virtue, Otto Scott has created an ironic portrait of hypocrisy in power.

from the dust jacket

Although published first, this is the second of four [intended*] volumes on extraordinary fools whose follies influenced the course of all our lives. Without them, history would have been different, and our lives would today be lived along patterns beyond our powers to imagine.

* The fourth volume—a biography of Woodrow Wilson—was begun and partly published in newsletters, but never completed and published as a book.

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