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William GrimesFrance, in this brilliant work of history seen from the margins, dissolves under close inspection into a vast cabinet of curiosities, an endless series of counter examples to the myth of a culturally unified nation and people…France was a land of marvels, with each region, and each village within each region, culturally and linguistically isolated from the rest of the country but interconnected economically by an ancient network of trails and commercial ties. Mr. Robb, who writes beautifully, unravels these connecting threads, highlights differences and traces the long, slow process of centralization that has erased most of the cultural differences he describes and changed the very landscape itself…Mr. Robb has accomplished quite a feat. He has reintroduced France to itself.
—The New York Times