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A History of France

A History of France

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As one who has been studying the French language as a hobby for ten years, John Norwich makes me feel a little better by noting that French is undoubtedly the most difficult of the Romance languages for a foreigner to master. The co-author, with Stéphane Hénaut, of A Bite-Sized History of France (The New Press), she lives in Berlin. The clever peasant Arnaud du Tilh had almost persuaded the learned judges at the Parlement of Toulouse when, on a summer's day in 1560, a man swaggered into the court on a wooden leg, denounced Arnaud, and reestablished his claim to the identity, property, and wife of Martin .

Norwich actually met the General and he shares his first hand opinions of him that are not flattering. John Norwich had a unique perspective on France as the son of the WW2 British Ambassador to France, Duff Cooper; his early immersion in the affairs and language of France informs his understanding and gives life to his narration of history. In discussing the Royal Mistresses, he tells how being the King’s Mistress almost became an official court position. I have already found myself going back to this book to refresh my memory on a particular event or revisit one of his better turns of phrase.The hungry young man asked the general if he might have his dessert, and the general immediately pushed the plate over, apologizing for the ashes. The tone is very much conversational, dotted with anecdotes, a device which most historians use to remember facts and details around an event. The second Viscount Norwich or the late John Julius Cooper if you prefer, wrote and finished his final book, not long before he died. Here, Professor Richard Vinen of King’s College London recommends five books that will help you understand modern France, all written in a golden age of French historical writing. Since its first publication to mark the bicentenary of the French Revolution in 1989, this Oxford History has established itself as the Revolution's most authoritative and comprehensive one-volume history in English, and has recently been translated into Chinese.

This book is written in the belief that the average English-speaking man or woman has remarkably little knowledge of French history. In it, he re-examines the war in the context of global imperialism, looks at the influence of socialist and labour movements in home countries and pay particular attention to the role of non-Europeans in the conflict. He gossips about the relationships the Kings had with their Queens as well as their many, many mistresses. The house of Valois ruled France for 250 years, playing a crucial role in its establishment as a major European power. All of his time as President of France is left out, including major events such as the Algerian War and of course, 1968.Historians of the French Revolution used to take for granted what was also obvious to its contemporary observers--that the Revolution was caused by the radical ideas of the Enlightenment. The author and historian Richard Wolin explains that French people in the late 1960s were desperate for a utopian political alternative.

The book opens with the author's memory of meeting de Gaulle and closes with his reflections on French culture. Not until I was in my forties, did I begin to see the strange Biblical hints of what ended up in my writing my book UFOs In The Bible. This is an accessible, up-to-date, illustrated history of France and the French that captures the absence of any inevitable pattern of development, and also the interactions of the geography of France with political circumstances.Listed by Le Monde as one of the forty most important books published in France during the 1980s, this explosive . No history of France can be complete without Paris, and this is the best account of that city, told adroitly by a specialist who conveys his enthusiasm well. This latest work from an author known for her contributions to the new cultural history is a multidisciplinary investigation of the foundations of modern politics. Honestly, the Medieval history is full of dull, sad stories (as was the entire epoch) with a few exceptions, like Eleanor of Aquitaine, but Norwich shines in his recitation of the exploits of French leaders from Francois Premier to DeGaulle. Paxton's classic study both revolutionised and reinvigorated the study of the Vichy period in French history.

Norwich’s long career as a historian has given him a definite assurance of style, which allows him to present historical detail in a thoroughly engaging manner without sacrificing clarity. The leading British interpreter of French history from 1940 produced this valuable guide to a period of major transformation in French history.This response – populaire in every sense of the word – was one of the rare moments in national history when the French people affirmed their identity by an act of citizenship; taking to the streets to remind themselves of who they were. Moving through the Merovingians and the Carolingians, we see the start of the development of the modern nation of France in a series of Kings based out of Paris. The Belle Epoque combined a preoccupation with the noblesse of the old regime with the seeds for modernism, says Oxford history professor Ruth Harris, author of an award-winning book on the Dreyfus affair. The best point of departure for our understanding of medieval France, and a skillful build on often fragmentary sources.

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