Saturday, 7 April 2012

1000 Years of Annoying the French, Stephen Clarke

Publishers: Bantam Press

Pages:  510

Main Characters:

William the Conqueror, Henry V, Joan of Arc,
Winston Churchill, Charles De Gaulle

1000 Years of Annoying the French is the brilliant book from Stephen Clarke. Clarke, an English writer living and working in Paris wrote this book about the relationship between the English speaking word and the French over the last one thousand years. Not exactly a history book. Clarke gets the balance of historical data and humour perfectly, making this book appeal to a much wider audience than a normal history book about France and England would. The book also addresses some ‘facts’ that we take for granted as been false or misguided. The examples Clarke gives in the blurb are:

‘Was the Battle of Hastings a French Victory? Non! William the Conqueror was Norman and hated the French!’

‘Were Brits really responsible for the death of Joan of Arc? Non! The French sentenced her to death for wearing trousers!’

‘Was the guillotine a French invention? Non! It was invented in Yorkshire!’

You can see why the book would be so attractive to an Englishman! We English will take any chance we can to get one over the French and this book does that. I don’t mean that this book is anti-French in any way. I think many French people would get a few good laughs from reading this book. But what I will say is that it is definitely pro-British!

Funny, entertaining and educational, this was a brilliant book. I would suggest this book to anyone who has a general interest in British history. I read it because I had an interest in the Hundred Years war and absolutely loved it. Besides, it is a nice easy read and not too dense as some history books tend to be. Great book can’t wait to read Clarke’s other Anglo-French novel A Year in the Merde.

For author’s official website please click here

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