1000 Years of Annoying the French

1000 Years of Annoying the French

Book - 2011
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The English Channel may be only twenty miles wide, but it's a thousand years deep. Stephen Clarke takes a penetrating look into those murky depths, guiding us through all the times when Britain and France have been at war - or at least glowering at each other across what the Brits provocatively call the English Channel. Along the way he explodes a few myths that French historians have been trying to pass off as 'la vérité', as he proves that the French did not invent the baguette, or the croissant, or even the guillotine, and would have taken the bubbles out of bubbly if the Brits hadn't created a fashion for fizzy champagne. Starting with the Norman (not French) Conquest and going right up to the supposedly more peaceful present, when a state visit by French President Nicolas Sarkozy becomes a series of hilarious historical insults, it is a light-hearted - but impeccably researched - account of all our great fallings-out. In short, the French are quite right to suspect that the last thousand years have been one long British campaign to infuriate them. And it's not over yet ...
Publisher: Toronto : McArthur, 2011, c2010.
ISBN: 9781552789827
Characteristics: xiv, 541 p. :,ill., map ;,23 cm.


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a great read. I bit grim to read in one go.. I read a bit of ancient then flipped to some modern and flipped back to the brutal war stories when I was ready. Great reading for anyone but should be on the undergraduate history curriculum for required reading.

Jan 11, 2016

Yes, this is a history book and, yes, it is long (500+ pages) but what a good light read. You can pick it up and put it down and still enjoy it, but you may want to binge read because it is so entertaining. Clarke is hilarious, I think, in his recounting of the history and rivalry between the English and the French. He delves into the backgrounds of many historical moments to show how the French have glossed over some of the 'help' they received in order to come out as French mainstream history portrays them. The personalities involved, both English and French, with their greed, vision, venal desires and idiosyncrasies all dictated the turbulent history that has resulted in the two nations continuing to agree to disagree. From all the English Henrys and Edwards to the French Louis's, Napoleon, the amazing de Gaulle, and the subsequent presidents, Clarke treats us to anecdote after anecdote, and paints a picture of neighbours who will always be practising oneupmanship.

Apr 11, 2015

A different and humorous take on British history that is well worth your time, the book and filled with fascinating and at times rather "shocking" tidbits of information

Jun 11, 2012

Very enjoyable read~!

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