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Holy Blood, Holy Grail
Michael Baigent
0440136482
Jan 1983
Paperback
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Book Review
Michael Baigent, Henry Lincoln, and Richard Leigh, authors of The Messianic Legacy, spent over 10 years on their own kind of quest for the Holy Grail, into the secretive history of early France. What they found, researched with the tenacity and attention to detail that befits any great quest, is a tangled and intricate story of politics and faith that reads like a mystery novel. It is the story of the Knights Templar, and a behind-the-scenes society called the Prieure de Sion, and its involvement in reinstating descendants of the Merovingian bloodline into political power. Why? The authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail assert that their explorations into early history ultimately reveal that Jesus may not have died on the cross, but lived to marry and father children whose bloodline continues today. The authors' point here is not...


My Life in France
Julia Child
1400043468
April 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. With Julia Child's death in 2004 at age 91, her grandnephew Prud'homme (The Cell Game) completed this playful memoir of the famous chef's first, formative sojourn in France with her new husband, Paul Child, in 1949. The couple met during WWII in Ceylon, working for the OSS, and soon after moved to Paris, where Paul worked for the U.S. Information Service. Child describes herself as a "rather loud and unserious Californian," 36, six-foot-two and without a word of French, while Paul was 10 years older, an urbane, well-traveled Bostonian. Startled to find the French amenable and the food delicious, Child enrolled at the Cordon Bleu and toiled with increasing zeal under the rigorous tutelage of éminence grise Chef Bugnard. "Jackdaw Julie," as Paul called her, collected every manner of...


The Tour de France : A Cultural History

0520247604


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Book Description
In this highly original history of the world's most famous bicycle race, Christopher S. Thompson, mining previously neglected sources and writing with infectious enthusiasm for his subject, tells the compelling story of the Tour de France from its creation in 1903 to the present. Weaving the words of racers, politicians, Tour organizers, and a host of other commentators together with a wide-ranging analysis of the culture surrounding the event--including posters, songs, novels, films, and media coverage--Thompson links the history of the Tour to key moments and themes in French history. He argues persuasively that this hugely popular sporting event has been instrumental in French attempts to grapple with the great challenges they have confronted during their tumultuous twentieth century--from World Wars, political...


Suite Francaise
Irene Nemirovsky
1400044731
April 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Celebrated in pre-WWII France for her bestselling fiction, the Jewish Russian-born Némirovsky was shipped to Auschwitz in the summer of 1942, months after this long-lost masterwork was composed. Némirovsky, a convert to Catholicism, began a planned five-novel cycle as Nazi forces overran northern France in 1940. This gripping "suite," collecting the first two unpolished but wondrously literary sections of a work cut short, have surfaced more than six decades after her death. The first, "Storm in June," chronicles the connecting lives of a disparate clutch of Parisians, among them a snobbish author, a venal banker, a noble priest shepherding churlish orphans, a foppish aesthete and a loving lower-class couple, all fleeing city comforts for the chaotic countryside, mere hours ahead...


The Judgment of Paris : The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism

0802714668


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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. NBCC finalist King (Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling) presents an engrossing account of the years from 1863—when paintings denied entry into the French Academy's yearly Salon were shown at the Salon des Refusés—to 1874, the date of the first Impressionist exhibition. To dramatize the conflict between academicians and innovators during these years, he follows the careers of two formidable, and very different, artists: Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier, a conservative painter celebrated for detailed historical subjects, and Édouard Manet, whose painting Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe caused an uproar at the Salon des Refusés. Many other artists of the day, among them Courbet, Degas, Morisot, Monet and Cézanne, are included in King's compelling narrative,...


The War That Made America
Fred Anderson
0670034541
Dec 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
The author of the award-winning, scholarly account of the French and Indian War Crucible of War (2000) offers a scaled-down, popular version of that history in this companion volume to the January 2006 PBS documentary. It is an excellent introduction to a conflict that most Americans know little about, and that Winston Churchill called the first worldwide war. Anderson focuses on the North American theater, the outcome of which he claims "transformed the colonists' world forever" and, in effect, "made America." He shows how the conflict encouraged colonials "to conceive of themselves as equal partners in the [British] empire," a concept that Britain did not share and that led inexorably to postwar strife and revolution. In a departure from earlier accounts, Anderson gives unprecedented coverage to the role of...


La Belle France: A Short History
Alistair Horne
1400041406
August 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
If this "sister work" of Horne's delightful Seven Ages of Paris is "the culmination of some four decades of a love affair with France," the relationship between author and mistress shows no signs of waning. Horne takes his lover's story from the "yobbish louts" of the sixth-century Merovingian dynasty to the career of François Mitterrand and his "liaisons dangereuses" (both political and private). The author fondly delves into a drawerful of narratives, historical snapshots and personal anecdotes, but lovers' quarrels resurface in entertainingly brusque judgments and occasional character assassinations. Valéry Giscard D'Estaing and Jean-Paul Sartre inspire some particularly choice language: "If there was ever a philosopher guilty of the sin Socrates was accused of, being a false corrupter of youth,...


The Essence of Style
Joan Dejean
0743264134
June 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Not only do French women not get fat, they've led the world in style for the past 300 years. French historian DeJean's premise is simple yet wonderfully effective: largely because of one obsessive spendthrift, Louis XIV, France, in the late 17th century, became the arbiter of chic, a position from which it has never since faltered. Louis's outrageous vanity, sumptuous court and devotion to his own well-being led to growth in the manufacturing of fine clothing and shoes, and the invention of shops in which to buy them, and to celebrity cuisine, cafes and Champagne (a particularly amusing—and explosive—chapter). Louis was enthralled by glitter, which fostered a huge increase in the diamond trade; the theft of the Venetians' mirror-making secrets and subsequent rise of France as world leader in that...


A Tale of Two Cities (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
Charles Dickens
1593083327
November 2004
Hardcover
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Wine and War
Don Kladstrup
0767904486
Apr 2002
Paperback
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Book Review's Best of 2001
Liberty, equality, and fraternity are all well and good, a champion of French culture once remarked. But, he continued, what made France truly superior to its neighbors was the French passion for wine, which "contributed to the French race by giving it wit, gaiety, and good taste, qualities which set it profoundly apart from people who drink a lot of beer."

The commentator may have had a point; after all, write Don and Petie Kladstrup, it was a well-known fact that Adolf Hitler did not like wine. Still, their leader's teetotalism notwithstanding, the Germans showed no distaste for French wine when they invaded France in 1940. Indeed, among the first acts of the occupying army was to seize great stores of wine, sending tens of thousands of barrels to the Third Reich and ordering the conversion of thousands...



A Tale of Two Cities (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
Charles Dickens
1593081383
August 2004
Paperback
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A Year in Provence
Peter Mayle
0679731148
June 1991
Paperback
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Book Review
Who hasn't dreamed, on a mundane Monday or frowzy Friday, of chucking it all in and packing off to the south of France? Provençal cookbooks and guidebooks entice with provocatively fresh salads and azure skies, but is it really all Côtes-du-Rhône and fleur-de-lis? Author Peter Mayle answers that question with wit, warmth, and wicked candor in A Year in Provence, the chronicle of his own foray into Provençal domesticity.

Beginning, appropriately enough, on New Year's Day with a divine luncheon in a quaint restaurant, Mayle sets the scene and pits his British sensibilities against it. "We had talked about it during the long gray winters and the damp green summers," he writes, "looked with an addict's longing at photographs of village markets and vineyards, dreamed of being...



Holy Blood, Holy Grail
Michael Baigent
038534001X
Oct 2005
(Hardcover) - Special Ed.
·
 
Book Review
Michael Baigent, Henry Lincoln, and Richard Leigh, authors of The Messianic Legacy, spent over 10 years on their own kind of quest for the Holy Grail, into the secretive history of early France. What they found, researched with the tenacity and attention to detail that befits any great quest, is a tangled and intricate story of politics and faith that reads like a mystery novel. It is the story of the Knights Templar, and a behind-the-scenes society called the Prieure de Sion, and its involvement in reinstating descendants of the Merovingian bloodline into political power. Why? The authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail assert that their explorations into early history ultimately reveal that Jesus may not have died on the cross, but lived to marry and father children whose bloodline continues today. The authors' point here is not...


The Communist Manifesto and Other Writings (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
Karl Marx
1593083750
November 2005
Hardcover
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Jansen (20th Century Decorators)
James Archer Abbott, Mitchell Owens (Editor)
0926494333
April 1, 2006
Hardcover
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VERANDA, May-June 2006
"…critical addition to every design library… mind-boggling in its profundity of detail from remarkable sources…"

Book Description
JANSEN is the first comprehensive study of Maison Jansen - the most celebrated decorating house of the 20th century. the book documents the evolution of this legendary Paris-based company from family firm to global enterprise. It showcases over 30 of the firm's most alluring commissions, including rooms for the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the Shah and Shahbanou of Iran, and President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy for whom Jansen renovated and redecorated the White House. Over 300 illustrations in color and duotone.

See all Editorial Reviews


Seven Ages of Paris
Alistair Horne
1400034469
Apr 2004
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
London is male, New York sexually ambivalent, writes Horne. But "has any sensible person ever doubted that Paris is fundamentally a woman?" The renowned historian (The Fall of Paris, etc.) thus conceives of his history of the city of lights as "linked biographical essays, depicting seven ages... in the long, exciting life of a sexy and beautiful, but also turbulent, troublesome and sometimes excessively violent woman." Horne's admittedly idiosyncratic seven ages begin in the 13th century, when King Philippe Auguste made Paris the administrative and cultural center of France. The second age was that of the Protestant Henri of Navarre (later King Henri IV) who, after unsuccessfully besieging the city, converted to Catholicism because, he said, "Paris is worth a mass," and began "to clear away the cluttered medieval...


The French Revolution: 1789-1799 (History SparkNotes)
SparkNotes Editors
1411404319
July 2005
Paperback
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Return to Chauvet Cave: Excavating the Birthplace of Art: the First Full Report
Jean Clottes
0500511195
March 1, 2003
Hardcover
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Book Description
The discovery of the Chauvet Cave in December 1994 was a remarkable event. The incredible age of the paintings, which dated back 35,000 years, and their exceptionally high quality were the source of both astonishment and admiration, and the images of mammoths, rhinoceroses, lions, bears, horses and bison have since been seen around the world.Several years ago, a team of specialists from many different disciplines, led by Jean Clottes, began the first detailed scientific study of the cave. This collaborative project has been extremely fruitful and the cave has slowly revealed many of secrets of its origins: its dating, the traces left by animals and humans, the artistic techniques that were used, and the themes of the paintings and engravings. New light has also been cast on this unique art by art historians and...


The Age of Conversation
Benedetta Craveri
1590171411
June 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Craveri's account of the French aristocratic circles in which conversation emerged as an art offers a rich blend of personalities, anecdotes, scandal and genuinely amusing letters to flesh out an intellectual argument leading from early 17th-century aristocratic entertainment to the Enlightenment salon. Craveri, a contributor to the New York Review of Books, develops her theme by examining the careers of several prominent women who carved social and intellectual space for themselves in their homes and served as models for successive generations. The Marquise de Rambouillet set the stage when she retreated from Louis XIII's inhospitable court to build her famed Blue Room, designed specifically for refined entertainment. Even in this early phase, says Craveri, an emphasis on style and wit led to some blurring of...


Linnea in Monet's Garden
Christina Bjork
9129583144
September 1987
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Linnea, a fresh-faced European girl with a mop of black hair and a white smock, gives a solid lesson in art history in the gentlest way, through a first-person account. Her story is like a scrapbook, reliving a trip she took to Paris and Giverny to learn about Monet's water-lily paintings. Airy, light-filled watercolors showing Linnea in Monet's environment are juxtaposed with period photographs of the artist and reproductions of the paintings themselves. The focus is always on the specific. Monet's brushstrokes are examined (Linnea terms them "splotchy"). A section is devoted to expressionism: "Even stone walls could shimmer sometimes." Also included are Monet's biography, a family tree and a brief guide to Paris. But, it is the sense of being there, and Linnea's own enthusiasm, that carries the book. Ages 7-up....


The Communist Manifesto and Other Writings (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
Karl Marx
1593081006
October 2005
Paperback
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A Great Improvisation : Franklin, France, and the Birth of America
Stacy Schiff
0805066330
April 2, 2005
Hardcover
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Book Review
Benjamin Franklin began the "the most taxing assignment of his life" at the age of 70: to secure the aid of the French monarchy in helping the fledgling United States establish their republic. The job required tremendous skill, finesse, and discretion, and as Stacy Schiff makes clear in this brilliant book, Franklin was the ideal American, perhaps the only one, to take on the task, due in large part to his considerable personal prestige. One of the most famous men in the world when he landed in France in December 1776, his arrival caused a sensation--he was celebrated as a man of genius, a successor to Newton and Galileo, and treated as a great dignitary, even though the nation he represented was less than a year old and there were many doubts as to whether it would see its second birthday. Though he had no formal diplomatic...


A Tale of Two Cities (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
Charles Dickens
1593080557
December 2003
Mass Market Paperback
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Book Description
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .” With these famous words, Charles Dickens plunges the reader into one of history’s most explosive eras—the French Revolution. From the storming of the Bastille to the relentless drop of the guillotine, Dickens vividly captures the terror and upheaval of that tumultuous period. At the center is the novel’s hero, Sydney Carton, a lazy, alcoholic attorney who, inspired by a woman, makes the supreme sacrifice on the bloodstained streets of Paris. One of Dickens’s most exciting novels, A Tale of Two Cities is a stirring classic of love, revenge, and resurrection.


Distant Mirror
Barbara Wertheim Tuchman
0345349571
July 1987
Paperback
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Book Review
In this sweeping historical narrative, Barbara Tuchman writes of the cataclysmic 14th century, when the energies of medieval Europe were devoted to fighting internecine wars and warding off the plague. Some medieval thinkers viewed these disasters as divine punishment for mortal wrongs; others, more practically, viewed them as opportunities to accumulate wealth and power. One of the latter, whose life informs much of Tuchman's book, was the French nobleman Enguerrand de Coucy, who enjoyed the opulence and elegance of the courtly tradition while ruthlessly exploiting the peasants under his thrall. Tuchman looks into such events as the Hundred Years War, the collapse of the medieval church, and the rise of various heresies, pogroms, and other events that caused medieval Europeans to wonder what they had done to deserve...


Lessons from the Great Depression (Lionel Robbins Lectures)
Peter Temin
0262700441
October 8, 1991
Paperback
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Book Description
Do events of the 1930s carry a message for the 1990s? Lessons from the Great Depression provides an integrated view of the depression, covering the experience in Britain, France, Germany, and the United States. It describes the causes of the depression, why it was so widespread and prolonged, and what brought about eventual recovery.

Peter Temin also finds parallels in recent history, in the relentless deflationary course followed by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board and the British government in the early 1980s, and in the dogged adherence by the Reagan administration to policies generated by a discredited economic theory - supply-side economics.

Peter Temin is Professor of Economics at MIT.


Charles Faudree's Country French Living
M.J. Van Deventer, et al
1586857150
November 3, 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Though it's rare for Tulsa and Paris to be mentioned in the same breath, interior decorator Faudree (Charles Faudree's French Country Signature) has made a handsome living by bringing a bit of the French to the Midwest. Famed for his Parisian buying trips, where he negotiates with flea market vendors using a pen and paper, Faudree confides "a signature piece doesn't have to be expensive. You can get the look without the seventeenth-century armoire." The look the designer refers to is typified by floor-sweeping silk draperies and overstuffed chairs upholstered in merrily patterned fabrics long on luxury. Faudree's obsession with textiles is evident on every page, and far from simply focusing on predictable pastoral-themed toile to recreate the charm of French country cottages, his experiments with dragon-fly...


Charles Faudree's French Country Signature
M.J. Van Deventer, et al
1586852884
December 2003
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Master interior designer Charles Faudree reveals the keys to his signature French country style through a personal tour of his sumptuous creations, including some of his own 11 homes. In contrast to rustic Southwest or staid New England styles, French country infuses "all the elegance of a French country estate, without any of the traditional French pretentiousness" through an eclectic jumble of rich color, texture and ornament. Faudree encourages home decorators to fill a room till it's "overflowing, but never cluttered or overpowering." He achieves this balance by blending an array of fabrics-toile, stripes, plaid, tapestries-and playing them off antique woods and figurine collections. The overall result is opulent yet comfortable living areas and exquisite yet simple dining rooms. Warmly sharing his knowledge...

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