Get it by Monday, August 28
, Order now and choose Expedited Delivery during checkout.
Same Day delivery in Manhattan. Details
"A useful and charming introduction to a nation that has oh-so-definitely helped make the modern world what it is... Horne does a service in helping the reading navigate the complexities of French history." —Los Angeles Times
From the aclaimed British historian and author of Seven Ages of Paris comes a sweeping, grand narrative written with all the verve, erudition, and vividness that are his hallmarks. It recounts the hugely absorbing story of the country that has contributed to the world so much talent, style, and political innovation.
Beginning with Julius Caesar’s division of Gaul into three parts, Horne leads us through the ages from Charlemagne to Chirac, touring battlefields from the Hundred Years’ War to Indochina and Algeria, and giving us luminous portraits of the nation’s leaders, philosophers, writers, artists, and composers. This is a captivating, beautifully illustrated, and comprehensive yet concise history of France.
|Publisher:||Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.18(w) x 7.97(h) x 1.08(d)|
About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I bought this book because I realized how important France is to world history and how little did I know about this country. This was the first book I read about France and I feel Disappointed. Horne gives lots of information but it is disorgainzed, he chronically fails to link the information together even when it is in chronological order, which on serveral occaions it is not. If you buy this book expect to spend time looking things up because Horne does not explain them well. Horne glances over the early development of France, basically he devotes less than one page the the Merovingian Dynasty, A little more than a paragraph about Charles Martel and Charlemagne and the rest of the Carolingian Dyansty. His discription of the Carolingian Dynasty is a prefect example about how he fails to link information together, "Carolingian" only appears once in the entire book and when you read it you get the impression that Charlemagne was the founder of the Dyansty and not Charles Martel. One small detail that would have cleared this up than Horne doesn't mention it, and that is Charles Martel is the Grandfather of Charlemagne. Horne fails to explain how the Carolingian dynasty falls. I learned more about early French history from Steven Ozment's- A Mighty Fortress-A New history of the German People than I did from La Belle France. I don't want to totally condemn this book, one section I found interesting and funny was his analysis of the love story of Abelard and Heloise. He made them Come alive and explained how they where relevent. I wish Horne would have done it with the rest of the book. If I could I would give La Belle France 2.5 Stars.
I did enjoy Alistair Horne's last book, 'Seven Ages of Paris,' so I was surprised that he, the author of entirely too many books, would accept a contract to write essentially the same survey again, this time with less skill, less effort, and less result. 'La Belle France' is a scrapbook of historical anecdotes about France, but Horne never tells any of them well. The master of this sort of history is Paul Johnson: his smart distillations always offer the perfect balance of hard information and compelling narrative. I finished Horne¿s section on the events of 1968 in Paris with no concrete idea of what happened or why. And ridiculous errors abound: the Eiffel Tower was built of wrought iron, not steel, and Lyndon Johnson bowed out of the election of 1968, not 1970. Besides bad storytelling, Horne adopts a smarmy, fake-intimate tone peculiar to best-sellers. Ugh!
This book reads like a dry textbook. Characters are mentioned without any introduction as to who they are. It's hard to advance to other events or time periods because they are not written as specific events. I do not recommend this book for a travelers lesson of history.