Artists, martyrs, kings, revolutionaries: France’s dramatic history fascinates the world and attracts millions each year to visit its chateaux and cathedrals, boulevards and vineyards. Jeremy Black succinctly narrates how France’s past has created its distinct character and powerful artistic, intellectual and political influence across the globe.
France has an incomparable cultural legacy: from the cave paintings of Lascaux to the origins of Gothic architecture, from Monet and Degas to the Lumière brothers, and from the cataclysm of the 1789 Revolution through the countercultural student protests of 1968 to the Gilets Jaunes today. Ancient identities allied to a social, political and military history that has witnessed revolution, conflict and occupation mean that France today occupies a unique position in the modern world. Jeremy Black presents a vivid take on history that emphasizes the unexpected nature of events and unpredictable outcomes on a fragmented and crisis-prone France. Country and destination, nation and idea, France has a rich and complex history. This is a short, easy-to-digest history of a vast subject, and a helpful guide to understanding France today.