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The Discovery of France

4.02 based on 1079 ratings & 148 reviews on Goodreads.com

2008 Winner

Duff Cooper Prize

2008 Long-listed

BBC Four Samuel Johnson Prize

Picador

25 February 16
9781509803491
0
£9.99
N/A
N/A

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

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
Writing with humour but without condescension, with understanding but without naivety, Robb brilliantly reconstructs a world we have lost. There is hardly a page that does not contain a detail that is illuminating, surprising or entertaining, and often all three.
Sunday Telegraph
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