France by Jonathan Fenby
A Modern History from the Revolution to the War with Terror

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For all the confusion, twisting and turning of politics, student revolts, and peasant uprisings, France has survived, and Fenby dutifully guides us through. A capable history sure to appeal to all lovers of France.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

With the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815, the next two centuries for France would be tumultuous. Critically acclaimed historian and political commentator Jonathan Fenby provides an expert and riveting journey through this period as he recounts and analyzes the extraordinary sequence of events of this period from the end of the First Revolution through two others, a return of Empire, three catastrophic wars with Germany, periods of stability and hope interspersed with years of uncertainty and high tensions.

As her cross-channel neighbor Great Britain would equally suffer, France was to undergo the wrenching loss of colonies in the post-Second World War era as the new modern world we know today took shape. Her attempts to become the leader of the European union was a constant struggle, as was her lack of support for America in the two Gulf Wars of the past twenty years. Alongside this came huge social changes and cultural landmarks, but also fundamental questioning of what this nation, which considers itself exceptional, really stood—and stands—for. That saga and those questions permeate the France of today, now with an implacable enemy to face in the form of Islamic extremism which so bloodily announced itself this year in Paris. Fenby will detail every event, every struggle, and every outcome across this expanse of 200 years. It will prove to be the definitive guide to understanding France.

 

About Jonathan Fenby

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Jonathan Fenby is a former editor of the Observer and the South China Morning Post, and is a former bureau chief in France for the Economist and Reuters. He is the author of ten books, including the acclaimed biography Chiang Kai-Shek: China’s Generalissimo and the Nation He Lost and The Sinking of the Lancastria, which tells the story of the greatest disaster in British naval history. He was made a commander of the British Empire and a knight of the French Order of Merit for services to journalism. He lives in London.
 
Published November 8, 2016 by St. Martin's Press. 594 pages
Genres: History, Travel. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for France
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Good
on Aug 24 2016

For all the confusion, twisting and turning of politics, student revolts, and peasant uprisings, France has survived, and Fenby dutifully guides us through. A capable history sure to appeal to all lovers of France.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Christopher Caldwell on Nov 25 2016

Fenby’s story is 200 years wide and half an inch deep. He shoehorns events into the revolutionary tradition, noting that Mitterrand’s Socialists pandered to interest groups...

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Christopher Caldwell on Nov 25 2016

With a good feel for political atmosphere, Fenby sees how the post-Napoleonic settlement of the Congress of Vienna left France feeling like occupied territory.

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