• The Discovery of France

  • A Historical Geography
  • By: Graham Robb
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 14 hrs and 4 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (24 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
The Discovery of France  By  cover art

The Discovery of France

By: Graham Robb
Narrated by: Derek Perkins
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $24.49

Buy for $24.49

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

A New York Times Notable Book, Publishers Weekly Best Book, Slate Best Book, and Booklist Editor's Choice

A narrative of exploration - full of strange landscapes and even stranger inhabitants - that explains the enduring fascination of France. While Gustave Eiffel was changing the skyline of Paris, large parts of France were still terra incognita. Even in the age of railways and newspapers, France was a land of ancient tribal divisions, prehistoric communication networks, and pre-Christian beliefs. French itself was a minority language.

Graham Robb describes that unknown world in arresting narrative detail. He recounts the epic journeys of mapmakers, scientists, soldiers, administrators, and intrepid tourists, of itinerant workers, pilgrims, and herdsmen with their millions of migratory domestic animals. We learn how France was explored, charted, and colonized, and how the imperial influence of Paris was gradually extended throughout a kingdom of isolated towns and villages.

The Discovery of France explains how the modern nation came to be and how poorly understood that nation still is today. Above all, it shows how much of France - past and present - remains to be discovered.

©2007 Graham Robb (P)2020 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

More from the same

What listeners say about The Discovery of France

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    16
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    19
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    14
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great history of the cultural formation of France

I read this to get an understanding of the historical and cultural context of France before going on vacation there. And it was exactly what I was looking for. It covers what life was like for normal people living in the regions of modern day France. It is not a history of important dates and kings and battles like a textbook would be.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Almost There

I loved the idea of a history of the ‘small folk’ of France, but the execution of the text didn’t quite get there.

Robb did an admirable job of compiling the history of a largely illiterate and overlooked people. There are some fascinating anecdotes and ‘facts’ in the book, but the narrative jumps from region to region then back again in a way that I found disorienting. This happens in chronology too, though that was easier to parse.

Sometimes I felt as if the story was on the brink of summiting to some greater point only to slip back to its starting position.

In the final chapter, Robb felt the need to highlight some tragic event in modern France and suggest how far France has to go in order to satisfy his utopic vision for it. This tiresome, but oh so fashionable, trope always sours my enjoyment of a book. It would be nice to actually put down a book and be able to draw my own conclusions rather than have a ‘lesson’ spoon-fed to me by a virtue signaling author who can’t figure out any other way to close a story.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating History of France Warts and All

Fascinating history of France, the good and the bad. How the country became the wonderful beautiful place it is now. Also how the people became one from many different cultures.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Anything Graham Robb writes is gold

Graham Robb brings France into a perspective like none other, couldn't stop listening. His depth of research and skill with storytelling keeps you engaged while bringing the reader history, economics, politics, anthropology in combination and nuance with new ways to see the past that always make you think vs. writing with an obvious bias.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not what I expected…

Wanted to like this but it was kind of boring. I thought it would cover more history. It was basically about the daily lives of isolated French tribes and then how they eventually became connected by road and rail.