France - History
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.

A Great and Glorious Adventure: A History of the Hundred Years War and the Birth of Renaissance England
A Great and Glorious Adventure
A History of the Hundred Years War and the Birth of Renaissance England
Paperback      ISBN: 1605988421

In this captivating new history of a conflict that raged for over a century, Gordon Corrigan reveals the horrors of battle and the machinations of power that have shaped a millennium of Anglo-French relations.

The Hundred Years War was fought between 1337 and 1453 over English claims to both the throne of France by right of inheritance and large parts of the country that had been at one time Norman or, later, English. The fighting ebbed and flowed, but despite their superior tactics and great victories at Cr cy, Poitiers, and Agincourt, the English could never hope to secure their claims in perpetuity: France was wealthier and far more populous, and while the English won the battles, they could not hope to hold forever the lands they conquered.

Military historian Gordon Corrigan's gripping narrative of these epochal events is combative and refreshingly alive, and the great battles and personalities of the period - Edward III, The Black Prince, Henry V, and Joan of Arc among them - receive the full attention and reassessment they deserve.
Left Bank: Art, Passion, and the Rebirth of Paris, 1940-50
Left Bank
Art, Passion, and the Rebirth of Paris, 1940-50
Hardcover      ISBN: 1627790241

An incandescent group portrait of the midcentury artists and thinkers whose lives, loves, collaborations, and passions were forged against the wartime destruction and postwar rebirth of Paris

In this fascinating tour of a celebrated city during one of its most trying, significant, and ultimately triumphant eras, Agnes Poirier unspools the stories of the poets, writers, painters, and philosophers whose lives collided to extraordinary effect between 1940 and 1950. She gives us the human drama behind some of the most celebrated works of the 20th century, from Richard Wright's Native Son, Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex, and James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room to Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot and Saul Bellow's Augie March, along with the origin stories of now legendary movements, from Existentialism to the Theatre of the Absurd, New Journalism, bebop, and French feminism.

We follow Arthur Koestler and Norman Mailer as young men, peek inside Picasso's studio, and trail the twists of Camus's Sartre's, and Beauvoir's epic love stories. We witness the births and deaths of newspapers and literary journals and peer through keyholes to see the first kisses and last nights of many ill-advised bedfellows. At every turn, Poirier deftly hones in on the most compelling and colorful history, without undermining the crucial significance of the era. She brings to life the flawed, visionary Parisians who fell in love and out of it, who infuriated and inspired one another, all while reconfiguring the world's political, intellectual, and creative landscapes. With its balance of clear-eyed historical narrative and irresistible anecdotal charm, Left Bank transports readers to a Paris teeming with passion, drama, and life.

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.
Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres
Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres
Paperback      ISBN: 0140390545
Mont Saint Michel and Chartres is a record not of a literal jouney but of a meditative journey across time and space into the medieval imagination. Using the architecture, sculpture, and stained glass of the two locales as a starting point, Adams breathes life into what others might see merely as monuments of a past civilization. With daring and inventive conceits, Adams looks at the ordinary people, places, and events in the context of the social conventions and systems of thought and belief of the thirteenth century turning the study of history into a kind of theater.

As Raymond Carney discusses in his introduction, Adams' freeedom from the European traditions of study lends an exuberance--and puckish wit--to his writings.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Versailles: A Biography of a Palace
Versailles
A Biography of a Palace
Paperback      ISBN: 0312603460

Called "fast-paced" (Kirkus Reviews) and "highly engrossing" (Publishers Weekly), this is the behind-the-scenes story of the world's most famous palace.

The story of Versailles is one of high historical drama mixed with the high camp and glamour of the European courts, all in an iconic home for the French arts. The palace itself has been radically altered since 1789. Versailles sets out to rediscover what is now a vanished world: a great center of power and, for thousands, a home both grand and squalid.

Using the latest historical research, Spawforth offers the first full account of Versailles in English in over thirty years. He probes the conventional picture of this "perpetual house party" and gives full weight to the darker side: not just the mounting discomfort of the aging palace but also the intrigue and status anxiety of its aristocrats, as well as the changing place of Versailles in France's national identity since 1789.

Many books have told the stories of the royals and artists living in Versailles, but this is the first to turn its focus on the palace itself--from architecture to politics to scandal to restoration.

The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered
The Marquis
Lafayette Reconsidered
Paperback      ISBN: 0307387453

Winner of the 2015 American Library in Paris Book Award

The Marquis de Lafayette at age nineteen volunteered to fight under George Washington and became the French hero of the American Revolution. In this major biography Laura Auricchio looks past the storybook hero and selfless champion of righteous causes who cast aside family and fortune to advance the transcendent aims of liberty and fully reveals a man driven by dreams of glory only to be felled by tragic, human weaknesses.

Drawing on substantial new research conducted in libraries, archives, museums, and private homes in France and the United States, Auricchio, gives us history on a grand scale revealing the man and his complex life, while challenging and exploring the complicated myths that have surrounded his name for more than two centuries
Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved, and Died Under Nazi Occupation
Les Parisiennes
How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved, and Died Under Nazi Occupation
Hardcover      ISBN: 1250048591

"Anne Sebba has the nearly miraculous gift of combining the vivid intimacy of the lives of women during The Occupation with the history of the time. This is a remarkable book." --Edmund de Waal, New York Times bestselling author of The Hare with the Amber Eyes

New York Times bestselling author Anne Sebba explores a devastating period in Paris's history and tells the stories of how women survived--or didn't--during the Nazi occupation.

Paris in the 1940s was a place of fear, power, aggression, courage, deprivation, and secrets. During the occupation, the swastika flew from the Eiffel Tower and danger lurked on every corner. While Parisian men were either fighting at the front or captured and forced to work in German factories, the women of Paris were left behind where they would come face to face with the German conquerors on a daily basis, as waitresses, shop assistants, or wives and mothers, increasingly desperate to find food to feed their families as hunger became part of everyday life.

When the Nazis and the puppet Vichy regime began rounding up Jews to ship east to concentration camps, the full horror of the war was brought home and the choice between collaboration and resistance became unavoidable. Sebba focuses on the role of women, many of whom faced life and death decisions every day. After the war ended, there would be a fierce settling of accounts between those who made peace with or, worse, helped the occupiers and those who fought the Nazis in any way they could.

The Liberation of Paris: How Eisenhower, de Gaulle, and Von Choltitz Saved the City of Light
The Liberation of Paris
How Eisenhower, de Gaulle, and Von Choltitz Saved the City of Light
Hardcover      ISBN: 1501164929
Prize-winning and bestselling historian Jean Edward Smith tells the "rousing" (Jay Winik, author of 1944) story of the liberation of Paris during World War II--a triumph achieved only through the remarkable efforts of Americans, French, and Germans, racing to save the city from destruction.

Following their breakout from Normandy in late June 1944, the Allies swept across northern France in pursuit of the German army. The Allies intended to bypass Paris and cross the Rhine into Germany, ending the war before winter set in. But as they advanced, local forces in Paris began their own liberation, defying the occupying German troops.

Charles de Gaulle, the leading figure of the Free French government, urged General Dwight Eisenhower to divert forces to liberate Paris. Eisenhower's advisers recommended otherwise, but Ike wanted to help position de Gaulle to lead France after the war. And both men were concerned about partisan conflict in Paris that could leave the communists in control of the city and the national government. Neither man knew that the German commandant, Dietrich von Choltitz, convinced that the war was lost, schemed to surrender the city to the Allies intact, defying Hitler's orders to leave it a burning ruin.

In The Liberation of Paris, Jean Edward Smith puts "one of the most moving moments in the history of the Second World War" (Michael Korda) in context, showing how the decision to free the city came at a heavy price: it slowed the Allied momentum and allowed the Germans to regroup. After the war German generals argued that Eisenhower's decision to enter Paris prolonged the war for another six months. Was Paris worth this price? Smith answers this question in a "brisk new recounting" that is "terse, authoritative, and] unsentimental" (The Washington Post).
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. . . .