It is in such small communities as those so beautifully photographed by Hugh Palmer that the true spirit of Provence is to be found. Brilliant sunlight slants across jostling terra-cotta roofs, and great plane trees cast velvety shade across ancient squares where the only sound is that of a moss-covered fountain. The Most Beautiful Villages of Provence stunningly evokes the beauty and spirit of Provence, which has drawn visitors to it from ancient times to the present day. Its enduring charm is here celebrated in Palmer's magnificent photographs of such gems as Riez and its fields of lavender or the mysterious cobbled paths of Crestet. These entrancing places, and many others, make this book a lasting tribute to a magical world. Featuring a special listing of hotels, restaurants, festivals, and markets, this book celebrates a part of the world that has entranced millions.
Poisoner, besotted mother, despot, necromancer, engineer of a massacre: the stain on the name of Catherine de Medici is centuries old. In this critically hailed biography, Leonie Frieda reclaims the story of this unjustly maligned queen of France to reveal a skilled ruler battling against extraordinary political and personal odds.
Orphaned in infancy, imprisoned in childhood, heiress to an ancient name and vast fortune, Catherine de Medici was brought up in Florence, a city dominated by her ruling family. At age fourteen, the Italian-born young woman became a French princess in a magnificent alliance arranged by her uncle the pope to Henry, son of King Francis I of France. She suffered cruelly as her new husband became bewitched by the superbly elegant Diane de Poitiers. Henry's influential and lifelong mistress wisely sent her lover to sleep with Catherine, and after an agonizingly childless decade when she saw popular resentment build against her, she conceived the first of ten children. Slowly Catherine made the court her own: she transformed the cultural life of France, importing much of what we now think of as typically French -- cuisine, art, music, fashion -- from Italy, cradle of the Renaissance.
In a freak jousting accident in 1559, a wooden splinter fatally pierced Henry's eye. Hitherto sidelined, Catherine found herself suddenly thrust into the maelstrom of French power politics, for which she soon discovered she had inherited a natural gift.
A contemporary and sometime ally of Elizabeth I of England, Catherine learned to become both a superb strategist and ruthless conspirator. During the rise of Protestantism, her attempts at religious tolerance were constantly foiled, and France was riven by endemic civil wars. Although history has always laid the blame for the infamous St. Bartholomew's Day massacre by a Catholic mob of thousands of French Protestants at Catherine's door, Leonie Frieda presents a powerful case for Catherine's defense.
This courageous queen's fatal flaw was a blind devotion to her sickly and corrupt children, three of whom would become kings of France. Despite their weaknesses, Catherine's indomitable fight to protect the throne and their birthright ensured the survival of the French monarchy for a further two hundred years after her death, until it was swept away by the French Revolution.
Leonie Frieda has returned to original sources and reread the thousands of letters left by Catherine, and she has reinvested this protean figure with humanity. The first biography of Catherine in decades, it reveals her to be one of the most influential women ever to wear a crown.
The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916 is the second book of Alistair Horne's trilogy, which includes The Fall of Paris and To Lose a Battle and tells the story of the great crises of the rivalry between France and Germany. The battle of Verdun lasted ten months. It was a battle in which at least 700,000 men fell, along a front of fifteen miles. Its aim was less to defeat the enemy than bleed him to death and a battleground whose once fertile terrain is even now a haunted wilderness. Alistair Horne's classic work, continuously in print for over fifty years, is a profoundly moving, sympathetic study of the battle and the men who fought there. It shows that Verdun is a key to understanding the First World War to the minds of those who waged it, the traditions that bound them and the world that gave them the opportunity. 'Verdun was the bloodiest battle in history ... The Price of Glory is the essential book on the subject'
Sunday Times 'It has almost every merit ... Horne sorts out complicating issues with the greatest clarity. He has a splendid gift for depicting individuals'
A.J.P. Taylor, Observer 'A masterpiece'
The New York Times 'Compellingly told ... Alastair Horne uses contemporary accounts from both sides to build up a picture of heroism, mistakes, even farce'
Sunday Telegraph 'Brilliantly written ... very readable; almost like a historical novel - except that it is true'
Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery One of Britain's greatest historians, Sir Alistair Horne, CBE, is the author of a trilogy on the rivalry between France and Germany, The Price of Glory, The Fall of Paris and To Lose a Battle, as well as a two-volume life of Harold Macmillan.
In this luminous portrait of Paris, the celebrated historian gives us the history, culture, disasters, and triumphs of one of the world's truly great cities. While Paris may be many things, it is never boring.From the rise of Philippe Auguste through the reigns of Henry IV and Louis XIV (who abandoned Paris for Versailles); Napoleon's rise and fall; Baron Haussmann's rebuilding of Paris (at the cost of much of the medieval city); the Belle Epoque and the Great War that brought it to an end; the Nazi Occupation, the Liberation, and the postwar period dominated by de Gaulle--Horne brings the city's highs and lows, savagery and sophistication, and heroes and villains splendidly to life. With a keen eye for the telling anecdote and pivotal moment, he portrays an array of vivid incidents to show us how Paris endures through each age, is altered but always emerges more brilliant and beautiful than ever. The Seven Ages of Paris is a great historian's tribute to a city he loves and has spent a lifetime learning to know. "Knowledgeable and colorful, written with gusto and love.... An] ambitious and skillful narrative that covers the history of Paris with considerable brio and fervor."
--LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK REVIEW
A fascinating re-creation of the turbulent era of Paris (the capital of the 19th century) under Napoleon III. The central character is Manet, and it is through his paintings that the period comes to life. Color and black-and-white photos.
Why does everything sound better if it's said in French? That fascination is at the heart of "The Story of French, " the first history of one of the most beautiful languages in the world that was, at one time, the pre-eminent language of literature, science and diplomacy. Nadeau and Barlow chart the history of a language spoken as a native tongue by 130 million people around the globe. The first document written in the French was signed by the sons of Charlemagne in 832. After this, Latin was purged from the courts of France by Francois 1st, giving root to French speakers' 21st century obsession with language protection. The obsession progressed as Cardinal Richelieu established the French Academy, a group entrusted with the responsibility of keeping the language pure and eloquent. As French circled the globe, the international cast of characters included Montaigne, Catherine the Great, Frederic II of Prussia, the guides of the Lewis and Clark expedition, Jules Verne, and others. Let Nadeau and Barlow guide you through the story of a language used to write some of the world's great masterpieces of literature, construct some of the most important documents of diplomacy, bedevil millions with its vagaries of pronunciation and beguile everyone with its beauty.
The Duke of Saint-Simon (1675 1755) was by all accounts, including his own, a sensitive, self-obsessed, ill-tempered man. A courtier and phenomenal chronicler of court life under Louis XIV, he produced the monumental work "Memoirs," running to thousands of pages, in which the intrigues, personalities, activities, and gossip of life at Versailles are recorded in acerbic detail. Drawing heavily on these "Memoirs," renowned historian Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie offers a wonderful portrait of life under Louis XIV, focusing on the fundamental issues of hierarchy and rank in this tightly controlled universe.
"Saint-Simon and the Court of Louis XIV," expertly translated by Arthur Goldhammer, is a historical essay about court life, built with the wide range of tools Ladurie so expertly employs: ethnography, history, literary criticism, and historiography. Ladurie recreates a world in which man is most definitely born unequal, a world circumscribed entirely by purity of bloodline, which nonetheless directly preceded the birth of democratic thought and political action. Locked into a virtual caste system, courtiers formed within their ranks cabals, factions, and groups bonded by common ideological principles in order to survive the political order of the court. Thus "Saint-Simon and the Court of Louis XIV" is not only about Saint-Simon's place in this constellation but also the constellation itself and how understanding it forces us to a reevaluation of political life in France during the Old Regime.
Including a biographical sketch of Saint-Simon and more than 30 illustrations of court life and its members, "Saint-Simon and the Court of Louis XIV" will delight those interested in French history as well as instruct those interested in political history."
The First Empire was at its height during the Jena-Auerstadt campaign of 1806. The campaign was a classic of Napoleonic tactics, as Marshal Davout held one German army at bay while Napoleon concentrated his forces to defeat the main one.
This excellent book combines an informative narrative with paintings oft he battles and a superb collection of images of uniforms and equipment from the period - all in color.
By the same author and available from Casemate
Borodino-The Moskova: The Battle for the Redoubts
Wagram: At the Heyday of the Empire