The Discovery of France

By Graham Robb,

Book cover of The Discovery of France

Book description

A narrative of exploration-full of strange landscapes and even stranger inhabitants-that explains the enduring fascination of France. While Gustave Eiffel was changing the skyline of Paris, large parts of France were still terra incognita. Even in the age of railways and newspapers, France was a land of ancient tribal divisions,…


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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Discovery of France as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Don’t be intimated by the academic-sounding title. This book just blew my mind. If you want to even begin understanding the French, you have to know where they came from. As Robb proves in this readable work, there is no better way to do this than by looking at French geography. France is a country that evolved out of surprisingly varied landscapes, ethnic origins, languages, and more. Understanding all the pieces of the puzzle, the great struggles that gathered them into a unified country, will forever change how you see the country.

From Julie's list on understanding the French.

This is an extraordinary and powerful study of France over the last 250 years from the point of view of the people in the increasingly assertive regions, rather than from Paris. From the poor peasants who hibernated in winter to the strength of local cultures and languages, this is living history.

From Martin's list on Perigord France.

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