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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read.
I would recommend this book to any A-level student studying the period 1688 - 1789. This book is very good for background knowledge and making notes. The author offers tantalising insights into France.
I was dubious at first at buying a history book which covers such a large period, but the author meet all my expectations. In easy to find chapters and sections...
Published on 15 May 2005 by Mr. C. J. Preston

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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Turgid and self satisfying
I so wanted to read this, it is a scholarly work indeed but sadly the pompous writing style, excessive use of words that even my 80 year old mother who is a retired professor of English Language had trouble defining, made this a turgid and difficult read.

It does explain the period well, but it seems like its a self-satisfying pronouncement on the cleverness of...
Published 24 months ago by MysteronMan


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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read., 15 May 2005
By 
Mr. C. J. Preston "chpreston3" (United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Great Nation: France from Louis XV to Napoleon: The New Penguin History of France (Paperback)
I would recommend this book to any A-level student studying the period 1688 - 1789. This book is very good for background knowledge and making notes. The author offers tantalising insights into France.
I was dubious at first at buying a history book which covers such a large period, but the author meet all my expectations. In easy to find chapters and sections exploring France on an international and administrative level.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fashion reigns supreme, 14 Jan 2009
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reader 451 - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Great Nation: France from Louis XV to Napoleon: The New Penguin History of France (Paperback)
Colin Jones's The Great Nation is history of the grand narrative type. In one long roller-coaster ride, its takes the reader from the death of Louis XIV to the seizure of power by Napoleon in 1799. Jones's emphasis is on continuity, his theory that France remained a country centred around the glory and brilliance of its court and rulers.

Within this theme, anecdotes and boudoir history are especially highlighted, making this generally fun to read while of course not avoiding more conventionally political or constitutional events. But Jones's version of the old regime and the revolution are very current, very fashionable, dwelling on court intrigue and the importance of an emerging `public sphere'. This makes for a certain kind of writing, which while amusing as a story - Jones obviously loves his subject, and has entertaining titles and chapters like `diamonds: not a queen's best friend', taking us to Versailles's gardens at night and then onto the vitriolic Paris pamphleteer's scene - is sometimes short on analysis. Students interested in, say, the monarchy's fiscal problems will have to look elsewhere for data. Jones's view is that old regime France's fragility had to do with court faction, dependence on foreign policy success, and a critical public opinion. Everyone is free to disagree.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Detail, detail, detail, 3 Feb 2013
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This review is from: The Great Nation: France from Louis XV to Napoleon: The New Penguin History of France (Paperback)
I really liked the book, good read with some great analysis at times. Goes into a lot of detail into events before the French Revolution and adds to the post-revisionist arguments of cultural vitality to the Revolution
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5.0 out of 5 stars French History, 29 July 2012
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This review is from: The Great Nation: France from Louis XV to Napoleon: The New Penguin History of France (Paperback)
This is a very detailed French political history, covering the French Revolution. I'm rereading as it's
such a fascinating subject, but, you have to be committed to some deep reading, but, well worth it.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Turgid and self satisfying, 11 Oct 2012
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I so wanted to read this, it is a scholarly work indeed but sadly the pompous writing style, excessive use of words that even my 80 year old mother who is a retired professor of English Language had trouble defining, made this a turgid and difficult read.

It does explain the period well, but it seems like its a self-satisfying pronouncement on the cleverness of the admittedly learned author. You wouldn't be able to read this book unless you really seriously needed to, it could never pass as a relaxing informative read.

That said, as one would imagine, it's exceptionally researched and factual. Some is interpretive, maybe even deconstruction can be identified in places as the author tries to explain in his own self-acknowledging expertise quite what he's trying to get at.

In short this book is best read by one person - the author. It feels not written to inform but to explain what the author knows and his viewpoint of it, which it seems he considers utterly sacrosanct.

Dull as dishwater because of the writing style to read, but if you need a lecture and need to know the subject for some reason, you need to read it.
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