France - History
The Embrace of Unreason: France, 1914-1940
The Embrace of Unreason
France, 1914-1940
Paperback      ISBN: 0307742369

Spanning the turbulent decades between the World Wars, The Embrace of Unreason casts new light on the darkest years in modern French history. It is a fascinating reconsideration of the political, social, and religious movements that led to France's move away from the humanistic traditions and rationalistic ideals of the Enlightenment and towards submission to authority--and the dramatic rise of Fascism and anti-Semitism. Drawing on newspaper articles, journals, and literary works of the time, acclaimed biographer and cultural historian Frederick Brown explores the forces unleashed by the Dreyfus Affair and how clashing ideologies and new artistic movements led France to an era of violence and nationalistic fervor.

Memoirs of Montparnasse
Memoirs of Montparnasse
Paperback      ISBN: 1590171845
Memoirs of Montparnasse is a delicious book about being young, restless, reckless, and without cares. It is also the best and liveliest of the many chronicles of 1920s Paris and the exploits of the lost generation. In 1928, nineteen-year-old John Glassco escaped Montreal and his overbearing father for the wilder shores of Montparnasse. He remained there until his money ran out and his health collapsed, and he enjoyed every minute of his stay. Remarkable for their candor and humor, Glassco's memoirs have the daft logic of a wild but utterly absorbing adventure, a tale of desire set free that is only faintly shadowed by sadness at the inevitable passage of time.
The Sun King: Louis XIV at Versailles
The Sun King
Louis XIV at Versailles
Paperback      ISBN: 1590174917
The Sun King is a dazzling double portrait of Louis XIV and Versailles, the opulent court from which he ruled. With characteristic lan, Nancy Mitford reconstructs the daily life of king and courtiers during France's golden age, offering vivid sketches of the architects, artists, and gardeners responsible for the creation of the most magnificent palace Europe had yet seen. Mitford lays bare the complex and deadly intrigues in the stateroom and the no less high-stakes power struggles in the bedroom. At the center of it all is Louis XIV himself, the demanding, mercurial, but remarkably resilient sovereign who guided France through nearly three quarters of the Grand Si cle.

Brimming with sumptuous detail and delicious bons mots, and written in a witty, conversational style, The Sun King restores a distant glittering century to vibrant life.
Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured
Joan of Arc
A Life Transfigured
Paperback      ISBN: 0767932498

Kathryn Harrison gives us a Joan of Arc for our time--a shining exemplar of unshakable faith, extraordinary courage, and self-confidence on the battlefield, in the royal court, during a brutally rigged inquisition and imprisonment, and in the face of her death. In this new take on Joan's story, Harrison deftly weaves historical fact, myth, folklore, scripture, artistic representations, and centuries of scholarly and critical interpretation into a fascinating narrative, revitalizing our sense of Joan as one of the greatest heroines in all of human history.

Paris and Elsewhere: Selected Writings
Paris and Elsewhere
Selected Writings
Paperback      ISBN: 1590170822

Perhaps no one loves France as much as the English--at least some of the English--and Richard Cobb, the incomparable Oxford historian of the French Revolution, was a passionate admirer of the country, a connoisseur of the low dive and the flophouse, as well as a longtime familiar of the quays of Paris and the docks of Le Havre and Marseille. Collecting memoirs, portraits of favorite haunts, appreciations of Simenon and Queneau, Rene Clair and Brassai, and including the famous polemic "The Assassination of Paris," Paris and Elsewhere shows us a France unglimpsed by tourists.

When the World Spoke French
When the World Spoke French
Paperback      ISBN: 1590173759

A New York Review Books Original

During the eighteenth century, from the death of Louis XIV until the Revolution, French culture set the standard for all of Europe. In Sweden, Austria, Italy, Spain, England, Russia, and Germany, among kings and queens, diplomats, military leaders, writers, aristocrats, and artists, French was the universal language of politics and intellectual life. In When the World Spoke French, Marc Fumaroli presents a gallery of portraits of Europeans and Americans who conversed and corresponded in French, along with excerpts from their letters or other writings.

These men and women, despite their differences, were all irresistibly attracted to the ideal of human happiness inspired by the Enlightenment, whose capital was Paris and whose king was Voltaire. Whether they were in Paris or far away, speaking French connected them in spirit with all those who desired to emulate Parisian tastes, style of life, and social pleasures. Their stories are testaments to the appeal of that famous "sweetness of life" nourished by France and its language.
City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris
City of Light, City of Poison
Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris
Paperback      ISBN: 0393355438

In the late 1600s, Louis XIV assigns Nicolas de la Reynie to bring order to Paris after the brutal deaths of two magistrates. Reynie, pragmatic and fearless, discovers a network of witches, poisoners, and priests whose reach extends all the way to the king's court at Versailles. Based on court transcripts and Reynie's compulsive note-taking, Holly Tucker's engrossing true-crime narrative makes the characters breathe on the page as she follows the police chief into the dark labyrinths of crime-ridden Paris, the halls of royal palaces, secret courtrooms, and torture chambers.

The Bettencourt Affair: The World's Richest Woman and the Scandal That Rocked Paris
The Bettencourt Affair
The World's Richest Woman and the Scandal That Rocked Paris
Paperback      ISBN: 110198449x
An NPR Best Book of 2017

The Bettencourt Affair is part courtroom drama; part upstairs-downstairs tale; and part character-driven story of a complex, fascinating family and the intruder who nearly tore it apart.

At the time of her death at age ninety-four, in September 2017, Liliane Bettencourt, heiress to the L'Or al fortune, was the world's richest woman and the fourteenth wealthiest person. But her gilded life took a dark yet fascinating turn in the past decade, when she became embroiled in a scandal that dominated the headlines in France.

The Bettencourt Affair, as it came to be called, started as a family drama but quickly became a massive scandal, uncovering L'Or al's shadowy corporate history and buried World War II secrets. It all began when Liliane met Fran ois-Marie Banier, an artist and photographer who was, in his youth, the toast of Paris and a prot g of Salvador Dal . Over the next two decades, Banier was given hundreds of millions of dollars in gifts, cash, and insurance policies by Liliane. What, exactly, was their relationship? It wasn't clear, least of all to Liliane's daughter and only child, Fran oise, who became suspicious of Banier's motives and filed a lawsuit against him. But Banier has a far different story to tell. . . .
The Seine: The River That Made Paris
The Seine
The River That Made Paris
Hardcover      ISBN: 0393609359

Elaine Sciolino came to Paris as a young foreign correspondent and was seduced by a river. In The Seine, she tells the story of that river from its source on a remote plateau of Burgundy to the wide estuary where its waters meet the sea, and the cities, tributaries, islands, ports, and bridges in between.

Sciolino explores the Seine through its rich history and lively characters: a bargewoman, a riverbank bookseller, a houseboat dweller, a famous cinematographer known for capturing the river's light. She discovers the story of Sequana--the Gallo-Roman healing goddess who gave the Seine its name--and follows the river through Paris, where it determined the city's destiny and now snakes through all aspects of daily life. She patrols with river police, rows with a restorer of antique boats, sips champagne at a vineyard along the river, and even dares to go for a swim. She finds the Seine in art, literature, music, and movies from Renoir and Les Mis rables to Puccini and La La Land. Along the way, she reveals how the river that created Paris has touched her own life. A powerful afterword tells the dramatic story of how water from the depths of the Seine saved Notre-Dame from destruction during the devastating fire in April 2019.

A "storyteller at heart" (June Sawyers, Chicago Tribune) with a "sumptuous eye for detail" (Sinclair McKay, Daily Telegraph), Sciolino braids memoir, travelogue, and history through the Seine's winding route. The Seine offers a love letter to Paris and the most romantic river in the world, and invites readers to explore its magic for themselves.

Holy Blood, Holy Grail
Holy Blood, Holy Grail
Paperback      ISBN: 0385338457
Is the traditional, accepted view of the life of Christ in some way incomplete?

- Is it possible Christ did not die on the cross?
- Is it possible Jesus was married, a father, and that his bloodline still exists?
- Is it possible that parchments found in the South of France a century ago reveal one of the best-kept secrets of Christendom?
- Is it possible that these parchments contain the very heart of the mystery of the Holy Grail?

According to the authors of this extraordinarily provocative, meticulously researched book, not only are these things possible -- they are probably true so revolutionary, so original, so convincing, that the most faithful Christians will be moved; here is the book that has sparked worldwide controversey.

"Enough to seriously challenge many traditional Christian beliefs, if not alter them."
-- Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Like Chariots of the Gods?...the plot has all the elements of an international thriller."
-- Newsweek