In an original and evocative journey through modern Paris from the mid-18th century to World War II, Patrice Higonnet offers a delightful cultural portrait of a multifaceted, continually changing city. In examining the myths and countermyths of Paris that have been created and recreated over time, Higonnet reveals a magical urban alchemy in which each era absorbs the myths and perceptions of Paris past, adapts them to the cultural imperatives of its own time, and feeds them back into the city, creating a new environment.
Using historical documents and translated by R gine Pernoud, Joan of Arc seeks to answer the questions asked by Joan's contemporaries as well as us: Who was she? Whence came she? What had been her life and exploits? First published in the United States in 1966 by Stein and Day, this book reveals the historical Joan, described in contemporary documents by her allies as well as her enemies.
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.
Marie-Antoinette, the last queen of France, fascinated her contemporaries with her temperament and independent spirit, her escapades and her frivolity. Born in Austria, she married the future Lois XVI at age 15, and then charmed her entire court with her small blonde build and grace. Crowned queen in 1774, she quickly stepped forward and upstaged her king. A great lover and rebel, she lost herself in gambling and social activity, angering her subjects who would never forgive her excessive expenses. From her powder pink boudoirs, to her apartments filled with lacquer furniture, from the Trianon, where she brought her lovers, to her milk house, where she played farmer's wife, this book traces the journey of the woman who left her mark on her time with a feminism that was both flirtatious and glamorous.
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.
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.
Atget wrote in 1920, "I may say that I have in my possession all of Old Paris". Indeed, he knew the city like the back of his hand and had the pictures to prove it. He captured the historical, atmospheric Paris: churches, monuments, and buildings, as well as bars, shop windows, street-peddlers, and prostitutes. Traversing all of its layers, he immortalized the true spirit of Old Paris.
Why did he choose to spend his life roaming the streets with his heavy camera equipment, systematically cataloguing everything Parisian? The answer, if it can be discovered, must be found in the pictures themselves. Whether he intended to or not, Atget has left us with an impeccable record of turn-of-the-century Paris, not to mention a huge collection of stunningly beautiful photographs. This new book features 200 of Atget's most impressive images, many of which have rarely been seen before. Take a trip back in time and immerse yourself in Atget's Paris.
Between 1830 and 1848, Paris was rocked by two successful revolutions, three failed insurrections, and seven serious assassination attempts against King Louis Phillippe and his sons. The June Days of 1848 - the worst urban insurrection in history until that time - finally brought this period to a close. Using a wide variety of sources, including detailed court records and hundreds of depositions of witnesses and suspects, Jill Harsin examines revolutionary republicanism during the violent underground movement of the July Monarchy, and describes these events in vivid detail. The lives of ordinary men are captured in their own words as Harsin illuminates the political aspirations of the working class. Harsin sheds light on the particular turbulence of this era, a period of disruption that stemmed from the contemporary working class codes of masculinity and honour.
"Thank goodness . . . for Mark Steel. Engagingly lighthearted while clearly thorough, the author has taken the events of the French Revolution and given them a human face, as well as neatly poking fun at the over-pomposity with which our recent historians have dealt with the period."--The Observer
"With Vive La Revolution Steel] examines the raw material of 1789, not so much in search of laughs as in an attempt to reclaim the first popular revolution from the dry historians."--Scotsman
"A cross between a history of the French Revolution and a spirited defense of the ideals that inspired it."--The Independent
"Steel expertly guides the reader through the philosophies, protagonists, failures and serious legacy of the events of 1789."--Guardian
Vive la Revolution is an uproariously serious work of history. Brilliantly funny and insightful, it puts individual people back at the center of the story of the French Revolution, telling this remarkable story as it has never been told before.
For the Haymarket edition, Steel has added a new preface for North American readers and revised the book to address parallel themes in US history.
Never before has the life of Marie Antoinette been told so intimately and with such authority as in Antonia Fraser's newest work, Marie Antoinette: The Journey. Famously known as the eighteenth-century French queen whose excesses have become legend, Marie Antoinette was blamed for instigating the French Revolution. But the story of her journey begun as a fourteen-year-old sent from Vienna to marry the future Louis XVI to her courageous defense before she was sent to the guillotine reveals a woman of greater complexity and character than we have previously understood. We stand beside Marie Antoinette and witness the drama of her life as she becomes a scapegoat of the Ancien Regime when her faults were minor in comparison to the punishments inflicted on her.
The youngest daughter, fifteenth out of sixteen children, of Austrian empress Maria Teresa and Francis I, Marie Antoinette was sent on a literal journey by her mother from Vienna to Versailles with the expectation that she would further Austrian interests at all times. Yet, Marie Antoinette was by nature far from interested in state affairs and much more inclined to exert a gracious, philanthropic role, patronizing the arts especially music, as royalty would come to behave in the nineteenth century. Despite this the French accused her of political interference and wrote scandalous tracts against her, mocking her lack of sophistication. Meanwhile, longing for a family and the birth of an heir who would have cemented the Franco-Austro alliance, the French queen had to endure more than eight years of public humiliation for her barren marriage before the delivery of her first of four children.
As these problems unfold, AntoniaFraser also weaves a richly detailed account of Marie Antoinette's other, more poignant journey: from the ill-educated and unprepared girl who sought refuge in pleasure as a consolation into a magnificent, courageous woman who defied her enemies at her trial with consummate intelligence, arousing the admiration of even the most hostile revolutionaries.
Brilliantly written," "Marie Antoinette" "is a work of impeccable scholarship. Drawing on a wealth of family letters and other archival materials, Antonia Fraser successfully avoids the hagiography of some the French queen's admirers and the misogyny of many of her critics. The result is an utterly riveting and intensely moving book by one of our finest biographers.