France: An Adventure History

Graham Robb

17 March 2022
544 pages


A SPECTATOR and PROSPECT Book of the Year

'Ceaselessly interesting, knowledgeable and evocative'
'A fresh way to write history' Alan Johnson
'A quirky, amused, erudite homage to France . . . ambitious and original' The Times

France: An Adventure History is a profoundly original and endlessly entertaining history of France, from the first century BC to the present day, based on countless new discoveries and thirty years of exploring France on foot, by bicycle and in the library.

Beginning with the Roman army’s first recorded encounter with the Gauls and ending with the Gilets Jaunes protests in the era of Emmanuel Macron, each chapter is an adventure in its own right. Along the way, readers will find the usual faces, events and themes of French history – Louis XIV, the French Revolution, the French Résistance, the Tour de France – but all presented in a shining new light.

Graham Robb does not offer a standard dry list of facts and dates, but instead a panorama of France, teeming with characters, full of stories, journeys and coincidences, giving readers a thrilling sense of discovery and enlightenment. France: An Adventure History is a vivid, living history of one of the world’s most fascinating nations by a ceaselessly entertaining writer in complete command of subject and style.

'A rich and vibrant narrative . . . clear-eyed but imaginative storytelling' Financial Times
'Full of life' Prospect

Robb's concise and fast-paced writing pedals along with never a dull paragraph . . . a dazzling and moving contribution to a long tradition.
A stunning history of France... Graham Robb deserves to be a national treasure.
A quirky chronicle of our neighbour . . . a witty, free-ranging homage to the French people.