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The discovery of France : a historical geography from the Revolution to the Firs
Graham Robb
Adult Nonfiction DC20.5 .R63 2007

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From Publishers' Weekly:

France is often regarded as the center of elegant civilization, so it's surprising to find that as late as 1890, most of the population was far from civilized-outside the confines of sophisticated Paris, as noted biographer Robb explains in his riveting exploration of France's historical geography, great swathes of countryside were terra incognita: dark places inhabited by illiterate tribes professing pre-Christian beliefs and lethally hostile to outsiders. They spoke not French but regional dialects; much of the country had not been accurately mapped; and many in the rural areas lacked surnames. The author himself embarked on a 14,000-mile bicycle tour of the France passed over in tourist guides. The result is a curious, engrossing mix of personal observation, scholarly diligence and historical narrative as Robb discusses the formation of both the French character and the French state. Robb's biographies of Victor Hugo, Rimbaud and Balzac were all selected by the New York Times as among the best books of the year, an accolade that assures a select readership will be eager to pack his newest alongside their Michelin guides. 8 pages of b&w illus, maps. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Mapping out all of France and bringing together the republic; from a literary biographer who's done practically all the 19th-century French greats. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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