The Discovery of France

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Picador, 2008 - Bicycle touring - 454 pages
9 Reviews
"This is a vivid and indispensable book, so full of unexpected and wittily related treasures..." Daily TelegraphIt's easy to reduce France to the sum of its parts: weekend breaks amid the culture of Paris or summer holidays basking in the sunshine of the south; accounts of the Revolution - Madame Defarge knitting beside the guillotine - and Napoleon's battle at Waterloo (mis)remembered from school history lessons; a country famous for its intellectuals, its philosophers and writers, its fashion, food and wine. Despite this, however, the notion of "the French" as one nation is relatively recent and - historically speaking - quite misleading; in order to discover the "real" past of France, it's not only necessary to go back in time, but also to go at a slower pace than modern life generally allows: this book is the result of 14,000 miles covered by bicycle (and four years spent in the library). It is - at last - a book which tells the whole story.PRAISE FOR THE DISCOVERY OF FRANCE"Captivatingly full of the author's own discoveries - exotic landscapes, weird customs, remarkable individuals and events overlooked by history" Guardian"A revealing biography of ordinary French citizens and a portrait of the world beyond Paris and the urban elite." Time Out"Superlative history of la France profonde" Sunday Times, 100 best holiday reads

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rwilliab - LibraryThing

I originally picked this book up at school while I was teaching French--the idea being that Graham Robb was coming to BYU and giving a lecture, therefore reading some of the book beforehand would be a ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Paulagraph - LibraryThing

Francophile that I am, I will never see France quite the same way after having read Robb's fascinating historical geography (or geographical history)of France up to WWI. Almost every page, in fact ... Read full review

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About the author (2008)

Graham Robb was born in Manchester in 1958 and is a former Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford. He has published widely in 19th-century French literature, including biographies of Balzac, Victor Hugo (winner of the Royal Society of Literature Heinemann Award and the Whitbread Biography Award) and Rimbaud (shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize). He lives in Oxford.

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