In this personal approach to the history of France the author shows himself a part of all that he has met. He describes the geographical circumstances of the country, her fertility, her internal and external communications and the villages, towns and cities in which her people gathered. As he describes the situation he questions - why did Paris become the capital of France rather than Toulouse? What is a frontier? What did it mean in the 15th century? How did France become unified in the way that she did? Thus he shows how all this, which lies behind the outline, determined the shape of France. The author also wrote " The Mediterranean" and "Civilization and Capitalism".
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Braudel's last volume has all the freshness, the play of mind, the 'goût du terroir', that are the special delight of his work. The multiplicity of his interests, the range of his knowledge, the vigour with which he interrogates the past are as evident as ever before.
What has been added to these qualities in 'The Identity of France' is the perspective of his own. It is the most personal of all his work.
The great unchanging geology of history, 'la longue dureé', is the context in which Braudel sees the changes and transformations not only of his own time but those of the centuries. The whole book is a dialogue, wonderfully enriched by images drawn from an exceptional consciousness and a depth of historical research that has never lost its sense of enjoyment. A flash of recollection sharpens his point and suddenly there is a vivid, sometimes elegaic, sketch of French life or landscape in all its particularity drawn from his own direct experience.
No one who is interested in France and the French, who enjoys the style of French life, who has an eye for her towns and her countryside or a taste for the regional quality of her food and wine can fail to find this book enriching. and to anyone who cares for the writing of history it is, sadly, the last work of a master.
"The most revered of modern French historians, Braudel parades a stupendous breadth of knowledge and a passion for local detail.
The book glows with a keen curiosity about the living past… much of it is as absorbing as a novel. Braudel's love of France shines through its pages."
JOHN ARDAGH, 'Daily Telegraph'
"Do feast your mind on this learned, provocative, and endlessly readable historical anatomy of France, delightfully translated by Sian Reynolds."
ROY PORTER, 'New Statesman'
"Like Herodotus and Tacitus, like Gibbon and the great 19th century historians, Braudel has been an intellectual beacon of his age. His manner of communication is for all time."
ANNE CORBETT, 'Times Educational Supplement'
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0002177730 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW4.0000277
Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 1988. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0002177730