This is a history of the French which tries to explain their idiosyncrasies, enthusiasms and prejudices. It goes beyond the recital of events to investigate their attitudes and behaviour over an unusually wide range of activities. Volume I scrutinizes the peculiar way of thinking and of talking adopted by the French, their powerful sense of national identity, their ambivalent feelings about foreigners. It shows what it meant to be a Breton or
a Provencal, an Alsation or an Auvergnat. Volume II analyses French taste and the role of the artist. It enquires into the quality of life, the French view of happiness, friendship and comfort, humour,
reactions to scientific progress, compromises with corruption and superstition. This major reinterpretation of France's achievement as a nation and of the individual experience of the French has taken its place as one of the great works of scholarship on modern France, and now re-appears in two paperback volumes.
`The world's foremost authority on Frenchness.'
`One of the major historical works of our collective lifetime ... brilliantly stimulating.'
`Brilliant, original, entertaining and inexhaustible.'
`The most enjoyable book of its kind in nearly forty years.'
`Widely hailed as a classic of the historian's art, it remains essential reading. Those students of France who do not yet possess it will welcome this new opportunity to add it to their collection.'
Modern and Contemporary France