Released on 04 July 2008.

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The Discovery of France

4.02 based on 1185 ratings & 158 reviews on Goodreads.com

2008 Long-listed

BBC Four Samuel Johnson Prize

2008 Winner

Duff Cooper Prize

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

As an alternative view of French history it is a fascinating diversion. Its real value lies in helping to explain why modern France remains a centrally directed society that has adopted big ideas and bloody ideals in order to create itself.
Daily Mail
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
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