In the history of European revolutions, the barricade is a glorious emblem, especially the barricades of Paris, which graced all the revolts of the nineteenth century. The barricade was always a makeshift construction, the word derives from barrique or barrel, but it served as an offensive tactic in narrow city streets, enmeshing the forces of repression. Barricades were also a theatrical stage, from where insurgents could harangue soldiers and subvert their allegiance, and their symbolic power remained alive in the historic French protests of May 1968 and the Occupy movements. In a series of concise chapters, Eric Hazan traces the many stages in the barricade's evolution, from the Wars of Religion through the Paris Commune, drawing on observations from contemporary thinkers.
Eric Hazan is the founder of the publisher La Fabrique and the author of several books, including Notes on the Occupation, A People's History of the French Revolution and the highly acclaimed The Invention of Paris. He has lived in Paris, France, all his life.