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 wrote for thirty years, and where I was a contributing editor until 2014. 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.


I have two books forthcoming in 2015-16, both from Oxford University Press. The first is a short biography of Napoleon Bonaparte, the second, a collection of my essays entitled Shadows of Revolution: Reflections on France, Past and Present. In 2016 W.W. will be publishing a history of Europe I have written in collaboration with my Princeton colleague Anthony Grafton. I am now working on a comparative and transnational study of charisma, political authority and militarism in the age of revolutions.  My most recent academic article came out in French Historical Studies in January and is entitled "Questioning the Global Turn: The Case of the French Revolution."


In 2014-15 I am on sabbatical leave as one of Princeton's Old Dominion Professors in the Humanities. Among my upcoming speaking engagements, I will be giving the keynote addresses at a conference on identity formation in early modern Europe at Radboud University in Nijmegen in January, and at the UK and Ireland Society for the Study of French History conference in  Scotland next June. I will also be giving the Talmon lecture at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the spring.


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