The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography, from the Revolution to the First World War

The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography, from the Revolution to the First World War

by Graham Robb

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393333640
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 10/06/2008
Pages: 496
Sales rank: 414,032
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Best-selling author Graham Robb was born in Manchester in 1958 and is a former Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford. He is an acclaimed historian and biographer, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He has won the Whitbread Biography Prize and the Heinemann Award for Victor Hugo, as well as the Ondaatje Prize and Duff Cooper Prize for The Discovery of France. His book Parisians was a Sunday Times top ten bestseller. He lives on the Anglo-Scottish border.

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The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography, from the Revolution to the First World War 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an absolutely fascinating study of the bits and pieces of France before they became the culture we think France has always been. I had no idea. I am riveted. I can picture this, too, having driven many French backroads and listened to dialects I can't understand. I will now think about France in a new way, and I'll never think of it again as I did before I read this book. Masterful research, analysis, and writing. Required reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the most engaging works of nonfiction I have ever read. Many little known facts relating to the very conflicted French identity which I suspect many Americans(and Europeans) will find explainss a lot of things that have always made us uncomfortable about the French people and culture.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book lacked a theme or an organizational thread. The author advocated learning more about the real history of rural France by traveling at bicycle speeds; there was no geographic or historical way he transitioned from one area or time to another. As a result, you were forced to turn to the map at the beginning of the book to determine which area or small town he was talking about, but after awhile, it got so depressing I didn't bother. It was drudgery to get through the book. I have lived in southern France (Bouches-du-Rhone) twice for a total of 18 months; both during professional exchanges. I couldn't disagree more with the author's assessment of the warmth of the people. However, there were some aspects the author revealed of "why people are the way they are" that I had experienced but not understood. My interpretation of those characteristics at the time, and even today, was far less sinister than the author's.
dchaikin on LibraryThing 3 months ago
The Discovery of France is about the French cultural geography and how this plays in the history of France. To sum up, at the time of the French Revolution, the French were generally not French. Instead France was a vast concoction of miscellaneous languages and cultures disconnected by the natural barriers and a diverse landscape; and whose goal was generally to continue to barely get by. This could have been a fun book and it could have provided a really nice introduction into France and its geography and culture. It does bring some times and places to life, and it will certainly leave you with an appreciation for the geographic variety in France. The linguistic map is wonderful (although the text on linguistics put me to sleep - several times). The significance of the Pays is fascinating.But, it¿s not fun, more of a discursive lecture. And, it¿s not a good introduction. The author seems to assume his readers are already pretty familiar with France and its basic geographic layout. The writing often gets bogged down in the details ¿ and I would get lost. For example, the book constantly mentions different regions and locations; but, without a good reference as to where they are located and maps designed for the text, it all just washed over me, forgotten.Overall I found the book disappointing and a struggle to read. I didn¿t get much concrete from the book, just a bunch of muddy ideas. A reader familiar with France will probably find this a much nicer book.
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The information about France is here but the writing is so convoluted that getting it is a chore. There must be better books about France than this one.
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