A SPECTATOR and PROSPECT Book of 2022
‘Ceaselessly interesting, knowledgeable and evocative’ Spectator
‘A fresh way to write history’ Alan Johnson
‘A quirky, amused, erudite homage to France . . . ambitious and original’ The Times
Original, knowledgeable and endlessly entertaining, France: An Adventure History is an unforgettable journey through France from the first century BC to the present day. Drawn from countless new discoveries and thirty years of exploring France on foot, in the library and across 30,000 miles on the author’s beloved bike, it begins with Gaulish and Roman times and ends in the age of #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, the Gilets Jaunes and Covid-19. From the plains of Provence to the slums and boulevards of Paris, events and themes of French history may be familiar – Louis XIV, the French Revolution, the French Resistance, the Tour de France – but all are presented in a shining new light.
Frequently hilarious, always surprising, France: An Adventure History is a sweeping panorama of France, teeming with characters, stories and coincidences, and offering a thrilling sense of discovery and enlightenment. This vivid, living history of one of the world’s most fascinating nations will make even seasoned Francophiles wonder if they really know that terra incognita which is currently referred to as ‘France’.
‘Packed full of discoveries’ The Sunday Times
‘A gorgeous tapestry of insights, stories and surprises’ Fintan O’Toole
‘A rich and vibrant narrative . . . clear-eyed but imaginative storytelling’ Financial Times
‘Full of life’ Prospect