About Me

I am an historian, and my particular area of expertise is Europe in the age of revolutions. I have written three books on the subject, most recently The First Total War, as well as academic articles in both English and French. I also contribute to general interest publications on a variety of subjects, ranging from contemporary French politics, to the relationship between war and society, to the impact of digital technology on learning and scholarship. The majority of this work has appeared in the political and literary magazine The New Republic, for which I have written for nearly thirty years, and where I am a contributing editor. I teach in the History Department at Princeton University, where I offer courses on early modern Europe, on military history, and on the early modern French empire. Previously, I spent fourteen years at Johns Hopkins University, including three as Dean of Faculty in its School of Arts and Sciences.


In collaboration with my Princeton colleague Anthony Grafton I have written a history of Europe, which will be published in 2015 by W.W. Norton. I am also working on two book projects. The first is a comparative and transnational study of charisma and mlitarism in the age of revolutions. While it is still at an early stage, I have been presenting some of my ideas in invited lectures and conference presentations.  The second is a study of two fascinating, but little known French Revolutionaries: the duc de Biron and Charles-Philippe Ronsin. Although coming from opposite ends of French society, they had strangely parallel careers, as soldiers, men of letters, and revolutionary politicians. They ended up bitter enemies, and both died on the guillotine during the Terror.


Upcoming lecture appearances include invited lectures in 2013-14 at the University of Michigan, Berkeley, Boston College, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In the spring of 2014 I will be teaching my history of modern warfare lecture course, and a new undergraduate seminar on "Theories of History." I have an article out in French Historical Studies in January entitled "Questioning the Global Turn: The Case of the French Revolution."


This website provides information about my books, and links to recent essays, book reviews, course syllabi, research materials, and the books' on-line appendices.


A full c.v. can be found here


David A. Bell

Sidney and Ruth Lapidus

Professor in the Era of

North Atlantic Revolutions


Department of History


Princeton University