A French Book Reading Resource

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guyome
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby guyome » Tue Nov 16, 2021 3:17 pm

Well, I'm not so well read. Depends a lot on the topic or the period. And even then...

For a biography of de Gaulle, maybe try Lacouture's 3-vol. De Gaulle (there's a pocket edition in the Points Histoire collection). Lacouture was not a historian by trade and the books were published some 35 years ago. On the other hand, Lacouture being a journalist and a writer means you may find his style pleasant enough, and the books were not unfavorably received by eminent historians.

Eric Roussel's biography of de Gaulle is more recent than Lacouture and probably a must read too if you're really interested in the subject, but I must admit I never read it so I don't know how it compares to Lacouture's. It's been published anew in 2020 so it's probably not too hard to find reviews online.
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Carmody
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Tue Nov 16, 2021 4:07 pm

guyome

I think 3 vols. is a bit much for me to start with right now, so I will start with Eric Roussel's biography first.

Also, following up on your absolutely excellent suggested selection of French histories I have just bought:

Le siècle des bouleversements (de 1914 à nos jours)by Sirinelli, Jean-François

La France du temps présent (1945-2005): Version compacte by Zancarini-Fournel, Michelle

Just by way of context, I have read:

Napoleon ou le mythe du sauveur Jean Tulard

Le régime de Vichy and Le syndrome De Vichy, de 1944 a Nos Jours both by Henry Rousso

L'Étrange Défaite by Marc Bloch

and many years ago a bit of Fernand Braudel.

And if you ever have some extra time, I would love to know hear how you think people in France view Napoleon today. I sense as with most things it changes with time.

Thanks again for your guidance.
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Le Baron
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Le Baron » Tue Nov 16, 2021 5:46 pm

I read L'Étrange Défaite quite some time ago and found it more conservative in thought than I expected, but I'd probably read it again and think differently. Tell me what you think when you get to it.

I'm thinking your level of French is a bit above B1 by now.
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guyome
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby guyome » Tue Nov 16, 2021 6:12 pm

Great! I hope you'll let us know what you think of these books once you've perused them.
Your enthusiasm has been contagious, I'm just back from a bookshop where I picked up second-hand copies of the Nouvelle histoire de la France médiévale published by Points. It's been some time since I did some serious, focused reading of history books. For the last few years I've generally just read the bare minimum I needed to understand Medieval Latin or Manchu texts, so that was all scattered. Now could be the time for some more organised knowledge.
Carmody wrote:And if you ever have some extra time, I would love to know hear how you think people in France view Napoleon today. I sense as with most things it changes with time.
That's a tough question and I don't know if I have anything to offer really.
My first instinct would be to say that the average Frenchman is unlikely to hold any sort of opinion about Napoleon. It just seems too far away and irrelevant to people's everyday lives to matter in any kind of way.
If you asked 100 random people in the street, would you find some who know something about him? Probably. Would many (or even any) of these know enough to have formed an opinion about Napoleon? I doubt it.

I remember that in 2005 there was some debate on whether France had done enough to celebrate the 200th anniversay of the battle of Austerlitz. Many said no and pointed out that France had sent its aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, to the British celebration of Trafalgar just a year before. So the whole thing sparked a debate on national self-mortification, whether Napoleon's victories should even be celebrated, etc.
The same kind of thing happened this year (200th anniversary of his death) but does this mean the French have strong opinions about Napoleon and his heritage or was it just some people trying to stir things up for their own benefit (political or otherwise)?
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Carmody
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Tue Nov 16, 2021 9:32 pm

Thanks so much for your very comprehensive answer; it is greatly appreciated.

The book you bought looks very interesting and I have never heard of Editions Point before.
https://smile.amazon.com/s?k=Histoire+e ... nb_sb_noss

What really shocked me about your reply was your English! Let me get this straight; you are French native and you speak faultless English? What is the catch? Maybe I could learn your method for my French studies.

Thanks as always.
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guyome
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby guyome » Wed Nov 17, 2021 4:47 pm

Many thanks for your very flattering assessment of my English skills. I fear the only catch about the whole thing is that you may be overestimating them. But I'll gladly accept the compliment, we all need to have our ego stroked once in a while :D
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Carmody
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Wed Nov 17, 2021 5:24 pm

I do not want to appear rude but the follow up question was specifically what was your language learning methodology with English? My guess is that you have already spent a number of years living in an English speaking country...

With hopes of hearing details and doing likewise....

Yes, I totally agree. I always accept any and all compliments that come my way. :D
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guyome
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby guyome » Wed Nov 17, 2021 9:53 pm

Carmody wrote:I do not want to appear rude but the follow up question was specifically what was your language learning methodology with English? My guess is that you have already spent a number of years living in an English speaking country...

With hopes of hearing details and doing likewise....
I first posted my answer here but it ended up being far too long so I moved it to my log.
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Amandine
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Amandine » Sat Nov 20, 2021 9:08 am

On De Gaulle, can I recommend Julian Jackson's recent De Gaulle - Une certaine idée de la France? Jackson is a professor of French history in the UK and I read the original English version but I know the French version got a positive review in Le Monde so hopefully is a worthy translation. I knew very little about CDG before and honestly I found it a total page turner.
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Carmody
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Re: A French Book Reading Resource

Postby Carmody » Sat Nov 20, 2021 6:33 pm

Amandine

Thanks so much for your guidance. I will definitely buy and read this.
:D
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