David Bell (historian)

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David Avrom Bell
Born (1961-11-17) November 17, 1961 (age 55)
New York, NY
Fields History
Institutions Princeton University, Johns Hopkins University, Yale University
Alma mater Harvard University, Princeton University
Known for Early Modern History of France

David Avrom Bell is an American historian specializing in French history.


David Bell was born into a Jewish family New York City in 1961. He is the son of noted sociologist Daniel Bell and Pearl Kazin Bell (Alfred Kazin's sister).[1]

He completed his A.B. in History and Literature at Harvard University in 1983, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He completed his M.A. in History in 1987 and his Ph.D. in 1991, both at Princeton University. He then taught at Yale University from 1990 to 1996; Johns Hopkins University from 1996 to 2010, where he was Dean of Faculty beginning in 2007; and at Princeton University since 2010.[2]

Bell has regularly taught undergraduate survey courses on European history from 1492 to the present and on the French Revolution. He has taught advanced undergraduate seminar courses on the art of narrative history and the history of the French empire in the Americas. He has taught also graduate courses on early modern France, nationalism, war, the first French empire, on the Enlightenment, and the way that thinkers have understood the Enlightenment over the past quarter-millennium.

He is also a contributing editor to The New Republic and a regular contributor to several other magazines, including The London Review of Books and Slate.


  • Shadows of Revolution: Reflections on France, Past and Present (Oxford University Press, 2016).
  • Napoleon: A Concise Biography (Oxford University Press, 2015).
  • The First Total War (Houghton Mifflin, 2007).
  • The Cult of the Nation in France: Inventing Nationalism, 1680-1800 ((Harvard University Press, 2001).
  • Lawyers and citizens: The Making of a Political Elite in Old Regime France (Oxford University Press, 1994).



  1. ^ SANDEE BRAWARSKY (June 19, 1998). "Author Alfred Kazin, 83, had complex ties to Judaism". Jweekly. Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  2. ^ "David A. Bell". The Department of History, Princeton University. 
  3. ^ "Leo Gershoy Award Recipients". American Historical Association. Retrieved 7 September 2015. 

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