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Publisher's Summary

From the cassoulet that won a war to the crêpe that doomed Napoleon, from the rebellions sparked by bread and salt to the new cuisines forged by empire, the history of France is intimately entwined with its gastronomic pursuits. A witty exploration of the facts and legends surrounding some of the most popular French foods and wines by a French cheesemonger and an American academic, A Bite-Sized History of France tells the compelling and often surprising story of France from the Roman era to modern times. Traversing the cuisines of France's most famous cities as well as its underexplored regions, this innovative social history explores the impact of war and imperialism, the age-old tension between tradition and innovation, and the enduring use of food to prop up social and political identities.  

The origins of the most legendary French foods and wines - from Roquefort and cognac to croissants and Calvados, from absinthe and oysters to Camembert and champagne - also reveal the social and political trends that propelled France's rise upon the world stage. They help explain France's dark history of war and conquest, as well as its most enlightened cultural achievements and the political and scientific innovations that transformed human history. These gastronomic tales will edify even the most seasoned lovers of food, history, and all things French.

©2018 Stéphane Hénaut and Jeni Mitchell (P)2019 Tantor

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What listeners say about A Bite-Sized History of France

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    4 out of 5 stars

Great stories, but...

The authors must be extreme leftists. It seems at every possible chance they trashed the right winged political party Fronte Nationale. I don’t mind personal political views, left or right, but the constant bashing got old fast. I would have been just as disappointed if there was constant bashing of left wing political parties.

20 people found this helpful

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Must read for anyone interested in food or European history.

Excellent narration. Fun interplay between food and history. Very enlightening. Especially loved the chapter on Oysters.

8 people found this helpful

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Fascinating, entertaining, educational!

I loved the very interesting intertwining of France’s rich history with milestones in its gastronomy, and especially hearing how some food and drink actually contributed to political history! This is literally one of the best audible books I’ve ever listened to! I think I’ll remember more specifics of history because of the storytelling. And the narrator was amazing...I could listen to him read an encyclopedia!

6 people found this helpful

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An Audible Visit to Paris

This was the perfect audiobook to listen to in anticipation of my first trip to France this week.

3 people found this helpful

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Excellent history of France and French Gastronomy

Loved the book, very cleverly written with it's approach to French history via agriculture, gastronomy, wines, etc. I expected a sugar coated history (pun intended) but instead found it frank (another pun) and often unsparing. Many food innovations are the result of war, conflict, colonialism, and this history covers them all. I wish when I was studying American history in school we had access to books that were this honest. Great sense of humor and the narrator is excellent. A little uneven at times but well worth getting through.

2 people found this helpful

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This a history book

When I bought this book, I thought I was mostly about French recipes. However, it is an entertaining look at how France acquired it's famous gastronomy and the historical times of when and how it happened.
Loved it!!

2 people found this helpful

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Not enough food History

Interesting overall with some exciting food origins but at the end we go back to a History Book. I expected more of a culinary experience, a travel in History through food but it was more of History Book with some french classic food stories here and there

1 person found this helpful

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History Class

More history of France and French royalty than history of French food but still interesting.

1 person found this helpful

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Entertaining, humorous and I learned some history

Loved the narrator. He spoke clearly and distinctly - not too fast nor too slow. The authors didn't hesitate to criticize if criticism was due, but neither did they hesitate to praise if that was due. A lot of info on French food and how it became such a focus in French life. Loved the chapter on croissants and their earlier origins and deteriorations of late. I would read more "Bite-sized Histories" if they were available with the same narrator ...and authors, if they wrote about other countries, too.

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Superb!

Beautifully written and wonderfully narrated. A throughly interesting listen. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys good food, anecdotes or French history.