Released on 25 February 2016.

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The Discovery of France

4.01 based on 1115 ratings & 153 reviews on Goodreads.com

2008 Winner

Duff Cooper Prize

2008 Long-listed

BBC Four Samuel Johnson Prize

Synopsis

With an introduction by Colm Tóibín

Ten years ago, I began to explore the country on which I was supposed to be an authority . . .

France is a country famous for its intellectuals, its philosophers and writers, its fashion, food and wine. And yet the notion of 'the French' as one nation is relatively recent and - historically speaking - quite misleading. In order to discover the 'real' past of France, Graham Robb realised it was not only necessary to go back in time, but also to go at a slower pace than modern life generally allows. The Discovery of France, illuminating, engrossing and full of surprises, is the result of Robb's 14,000 mile journey across France on a bicycle.

Winner of both the Duff Cooper and the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje prizes, The Discovery of France is a modern non-fiction classic, a literary exploration of a remarkable nation. From maps and migration to magic, language and landscape, it reveals a France few will recognize.
'An extraordinary journey of discovery' Daily Telegraph
'Robb's concise and fast-paced writing pedals along with never a dull paragraph . . . dazzling' Sunday Times

In the media

Elegant, entertaining and occasionally brilliant . . . As this book powerfully demonstrates, French history is nothing if not built on paradox and contradiction. Most importantly, Robb reminds us why France still matters.
Observer
Exhilarating . . . With gloriously apposite facts and an abundance of quirky anecdotes and thumbnail sketches of people, places and customs, Robb, on brilliant form, takes us on a stunning journey through the historical landscape of France
Independent
It is beautifully written and truly eccentric, seeking out the obscure or forgotten parts of a nation that - Robb argues brilliantly - is still discovering itself.
Times Literary Supplement