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Like many an Englishman my knowledge of French history has always been practically non-exsistent . My education only gave me a few , random , snippets that succeeded in leaving me both bemused and ignorant of French history . For countless years I sought , without success , to find a single volume that would provide me with a good overview of our neighbours history . At last I have found that book .

This is an intelligent history of France that does not 'dumb-down' to accommodate the reader . This is a comprehensive work that demands close attention by the first time reader of French history . Beautifully written and delightfully illustrated this is a fine book for anyone seeking a serious primer to the fascinatingly complex history of France . A superb work that I greatly appreciated .
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on 9 June 2009
Entertaining and informative. The narrative could be clearer if family trees and boxes containing dates were inserted within the text. Sometimes terms like 'Fronde' were difficult to understand from the text and sometimes prior knowledge was assumed. However, I did enjoy reading this.
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on 8 February 2009
The Cambridge Illustrated History of France (Cambridge Illustrated Histories)

This is an easy to read history, from pre-Roman times to Mitterand. It is written in the modern style, as for example Norman Davies and Tim Blanning. It is a bit sparse on detail of the era from Clovis to the Capetians, but this may not matter too much in the overall history of the development of the French nation. Otherwise it is an excellent book for the amateur historian interested in understanding how France became what it is and makes it clear that, like England, it is not a homogeneous people or culture.
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on 14 February 2002
This is just one of the best books of its kind: an marvellously readable narrative of French history that is at once comprehensive and to the point. It is thankfully free of tedious social-history case-studies and nightmare paragraphs of disclaiming analysis, focusing instead on eliciting the stories and myths that France tells about itself. This is really good general history; well-written and accompanied (rather than dominated) by plenty of beautiful illustrations. C'est bon, je crois.
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on 23 September 2015
The man who wrote this deserves a medal. So much subtle detail illustrating the points he makes and the text never becomes tedious.
Learned something new every page I turned. France - a complex and fascinating country, perhaps less civilised today than it once was!
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on 7 March 2016
Well pleased with this fine addition to history section of home library!
Thank you seller.
Kind regards.
Harry Donaghy.
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on 29 December 2014
Perfect. Thanks!
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on 29 December 2000
I really cannot understand at whom this book is aimed. It cannot be the specialist reader who would not buy a one volume history; and it cannot be the general reader like myself who bought it knowing virtually nothing of the history of France. I still know little of the history of France and what I do know has been gleaned from short guides bought in France. Remarks like King __ was murdered without indicating by whom or why are really unforgivable. There is certainly a gap in the English market for a history of our nearest neighbour and this book does not fill it; if only a writer of the caliber of a John Gillingham or Stephen Runcimann could do so.
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on 25 October 2012
I bought this book on the basis of the reviews, and I think I was misled. In my view, it is badly written (or badly edited) and with a usage of English that is either just wrong ("acclimatisation" instead of "assimilation" for example) or difficult to understand (what does "...its biggest conurbations - Narbonne, Nîmes, Lyon, Autun, Reims and Trier - did not exceed the 20,000 to 30,000 population band" actually mean?). I haven't read any other histories of France, so I can't advise you to buy something else and be certain that my advice will lead you to buy a better book, but on the other hand, surely there has to be something better than this out there.
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