Book cover of France on Trial: The Case of Marshal Pétain by Julian Jackson
Biography & Autobiography

France on Trial: The Case of Marshal Pétain

For three weeks in July 1945 all eyes were fixed on a humid Paris, where France’s disgraced former head of state was on trial, accused of masterminding a plot to overthrow democracy. Would Philippe Pétain, hero of Verdun, be condemned as the traitor of Vichy? […Learn More]

Book cover of In the Forest of No Joy: The Congo-Océan Railroad and the Tragedy of French Colonialism by J. P. Daughton
Africa

In the Forest of No Joy: The Congo-Océan Railroad and the Tragedy of French Colonialism

The epic story of the Congo-Océan railroad and the human costs and contradictions of modern empire.

The Congo-Océan railroad stretches across the Republic of Congo from Brazzaville to the Atlantic port of Pointe-Noir. It was completed in 1934, when Equatorial Africa was a French colony, and it stands as one of the deadliest construction projects in history. Colonial workers were subjects of an ostensibly democratic nation whose motto read “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” but liberal ideals were savaged by a cruelly indifferent administrative state. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Fall of Robespierre: 24 Hours in Revolutionary Paris by Colin Jones
Europe

The Fall of Robespierre: 24 Hours in Revolutionary Paris

The day of 9 Thermidor (27 July 1794) is universally acknowledged as a major turning-point in the history of the French Revolution. At 12.00 midnight, Maximilien Robespierre, the most prominent member of the Committee of Public Safety which had for more than a year directed the Reign of Terror, was planning to destroy one of the most dangerous plots that the Revolution had faced. […Learn More]

Book cover of Vénus Noire: Black Women and Colonial Fantasies in Nineteenth-Century France by Robin Mitchell
Europe

Vénus Noire: Black Women and Colonial Fantasies in Nineteenth-Century France

Even though there were relatively few people of color in postrevolutionary France, images of and discussions about black women in particular appeared repeatedly in a variety of French cultural sectors and social milieus. In Vénus Noire, Robin Mitchell shows how these literary and visual depictions of black women helped to shape the country’s postrevolutionary national identity, particularly in response to the trauma of the French defeat in the Haitian Revolution. […Learn More]

Book cover of When the United States Spoke French: Five Refugees Who Shaped a Nation by Francois Furstenberg
Biography & Autobiography

When the United States Spoke French: Five Refugees Who Shaped a Nation

In 1789, as the French Revolution shook Europe to the core, the new United States was struggling for survival in the face of financial insolvency and bitter political and regional divisions. When the United States Spoke French explores the republic’s formative years from the viewpoint of a distinguished circle of five Frenchmen taking refuge in America. When the French Revolution broke out, these men had been among its leaders. They were liberal aristocrats and ardent Anglophiles, convinced of the superiority of the British system of monarchy and constitution. They also idealized the new American republic, which seemed to them an embodiment of the Enlightenment ideals they celebrated. […Learn More]

Book cover Hero of Two Worlds: The Marquis de Lafayette in the Age of Revolution by Mike Duncan
Biography & Autobiography

Hero of Two Worlds: The Marquis de Lafayette in the Age of Revolution

From the bestselling author of The Storm Before the Storm and host of the Revolutions podcast comes the thrilling story of the Marquis de Lafayette’s lifelong quest to defend the principles of liberty and equality
Few in history can match the revolutionary career of the Marquis de Lafayette. Over fifty incredible years at the heart of the Age of Revolution, he fought courageously on both sides of the Atlantic. He was a soldier, statesman, idealist, philanthropist, and abolitionist. […Learn More]

Book cover for De Gaulle by Julian Jackson
Biography & Autobiography

De Gaulle

In the early summer of 1940, when France was overrun by German troops, one junior general who had fought in the trenches in Verdun refused to accept defeat. He fled to London, where he took to the radio to address his compatriots back home. “Whatever happens,” he said, “the flame of French resistance must not be extinguished and will not be extinguished.” At that moment, Charles de Gaulle entered history. […Learn More]

Europe

An Infinite History: The Story of a Family in France over Three Centuries

An innovative history of deep social and economic changes in France, told through the story of a single extended family across five generations

Marie Aymard was an illiterate widow who lived in the provincial town of Angoulême in southwestern France, a place where seemingly nothing ever happened. Yet, in 1764, she made her fleeting mark on the historical record through two documents: a power of attorney in connection with the property of her late husband, a carpenter on the island of Grenada, and a prenuptial contract for her daughter, signed by eighty-three people in Angoulême. […Learn More]