The Discovery of France

4.01 based on 1003 ratings & 142 reviews on Goodreads.com
Picador

Publication date: 04.07.2008
ISBN: 9780330427616
Number of pages: 480

Synopsis

Illuminating, engrossing and full of surprises, The Discovery of France is a literary exploration of a country few will recognize; from maps and migration to magic, language and landscape, it’s a book that reveals the ‘real’ past of France to tell the whole story – and history – of this remarkable nation.

‘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

‘Certain books strain the patience of those close to you. How many times can you demand: “Look at this! Can you imagine? Did you know that?” without actually handing over the volume? This is such a book’ Mail on Sunday

‘An extraordinary journey of discovery that will delight even the most indolent armchair traveller’ Daily Telegraph

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
It is an astonishing, eccentric book that defies linear narrative to detour, circle back, swerve and dodge between the centuries. Robb carries the reader along on flawless prose, over France's terra incognita, probing, discovering, and getting to know a country still deeply at odds with itself. There is information in this book to surprise even the most avid Francophile, and to delight anyone who is even vaguely thinking of boarding the new Eurostar
The Times
Robb's concise and fast-paced writing pedals along with never a dull paragraph, as facts, events, characters and quotations flash by . . . This book is an elegy to what has disappeared, a retrospective exploration of that lost world. But the British love affair with France makes this particular story special, and Robb, from his two-wheeled vantage point, has made a dazzling and moving contribution to a long tradition
Sunday Times