A definitive study of the unique and endlessly fascinating relationship between France and Britain - and its effects on the world.
The relationship between Britain and France is one of the catalysts of world history. Their geographical proximity, combined with their intellectual and economic dynamism, placed them both at the forefront of continental developments and overseas expansion from the eighteenth century onwards. Their insatiable rivalry set the pattern of European imperialism, and hence did much to shape the future of the planet. The interaction between them - both peaceful and violent, combining admiration and emulation as well as rejection and conflict - did much to create the identity and culture of both. The result, paradoxically, has been the persistence of a deep sense of difference between two countries that have much in common but regard themselves as exceptional.
That Sweet Enemy is a study of the dynamic processes of mutual contact and influence: and how these have been expressed in caricatures, histories, literature, painting and film - it is definitely not a standard textbook account of diplomatic relations.
Appealing not only to scholars, it will also fascinate anyone who takes a general interest in history, politics and culture, as well as those who just love to visit France and England.
From the Hardcover edition.
"An outstanding study of a three-century love-hate relationship... hugely readable" -- Andrew Roberts * Sunday Times * "Epic, instructive and engaging" * Independent * "An intellectual feast" * Times Literary Supplement * "Deftly written and meticulously researched... packed with detail and anecdote" -- John Thornhill * Financial Times * "Well-written and thoroughly researched... There is as good an account as you could want of the rivalry in the 18th century...and of the Napoleonic wars that took the story into the 19th... A satisfying and intelligent book, packed with information and provoking in its assertions and conclusions" -- Simon Heffer * Daily Telegraph *