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A History of France

Narrated by: John Julius Norwich
Length: 15 hrs and 11 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (74 ratings)

Regular price: $29.95

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Publisher's Summary

John Julius Norwich - called a "true master of narrative history" by Simon Sebag Montefiore - returns with the book he has spent his distinguished career wanting to write, A History of France, a portrait of the past two centuries of the country he loves best.

Beginning with Julius Caesar's conquest of Gaul in the first century BC, this study of French history comprises a cast of legendary characters - Charlemagne, Louis XIV, Napoleon, Joan of Arc, and Marie Antionette, to name a few - as Norwich chronicles France's often violent, always fascinating history.

From the French Revolution - after which neither France, nor the world, would be the same again - to the storming of the Bastille, from the Vichy regime and the Resistance to the end of the Second World War, A History of France is packed with heroes and villains, battles and rebellion, stories so enthralling that Norwich declared, "I can honestly say that I have never enjoyed writing a book more."

With his celebrated stylistic panache and expert command of detail, Norwich writes in an inviting, intimate tone, and with a palpable affection for France. One of our greatest contemporary historians has deftly crafted a comprehensive yet concise portrait of the country's historical sweep.

©2018 John Julius Norwich (P)2018 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"The major achievement of this book is the very fact that Norwich takes each of the four rulers to be a piece of the same story...written with often humming literary verve." (New York Times Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

I could listen to this guy read the phone book.

Great survey of French history. Doesn't go into a ton of detail, but gives you a great overview of the French people from Caesar's time to the end of WWII. Plus, Norwich has a delightful speaking voice. He sounds like you're listening to an old Englishman by the fire. Just lovely.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Strongly recommended

In depth yet easy to follow, as it is very eloquently written. Objective yet passionate and at times witty and subtly humorous. The flowing narration by the author himself adds to the authenticity. I ended up buying a hard copy after listening to it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Mumbling Narrative

Just a terrible reading, I couldn't tell if he said wife or life or knife. Low mumbling voice that trails off at the end of a sentence.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Good sweeping overview in tolerable narrative

Amusing way (old British dude narrating the memoirs of an old British dude) to get a shallow but broad smear of the development of France into a nation.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Too much royalty

The author’s own delivery of his work is an audio delight and his love for the material self evident. However, his recounting of France’s history is almost exclusively devoted to the royal families up until the late 19th century. There is a disappointing lack of insight into the lives and contributions of the French people themselves. A nation’s history is so much more than that of her few leaders, and that is missed in this book.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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PERFECTION!!!

I wish I could give this 6 stars to the text, and 7 to the reading. Magnifique!!!

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  • DRF
  • Washington, DC, United States
  • 11-24-18

one damn thing after another

once he got to the 20th century it was ok. until then it was disappointed facts about rulers with little context.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful