Good book on French history?

I’m looking for a good general book on French History. Thru WWII would be nice. It’s easy to find books, just difficult to tell what is good and readable.

We used Gordon Wright’s general history at UW-Madison, but it was, as I recall, a bit on the dry side. But you could look stuff up. It was okay, I guess, but the more focused books were invariably more readable. I couldn’t get enough of Furet.
Then you got T. Zeldin’s books with more of a social and cultural angle, but quite enjoyable to read. I am sure there are more recent general histories, but I’ve been out of the loop for some time. The more recent, usually the more readable, as the idiom reflects current zeitgeist. I look forward to response from someone who is au courant. Great question, SmackFu!

Hey, Smackfu, your question is burning up the boards! French history Dopers (I know there are some, as the Dreyfus affair thread was partying for awhile), we’re dying here!! Just one good recent book for general French history, as in OP!!

Moderator’s note:

This one’s really borderline for what forum would fit it best. Cafe Society is book-intensive but the focus is more on the arts.

My instinct is to leave it here for the moment, SmackFu. We’ll see how it does here for a while, okay?

for the SDMB

I don’t have any general overviews for you, but Simon Schara’s “Citizens” is a pretty good history of the French Revolution.

Eugen Weber’s “Peasants into Frenchmen” is a pretty good book about modernization and the growth of nationalism and national identity in Rural France at the end of the 19th century to the outbreak of WWI.

Also, if you want good primary source material about the Hundred Years War, Froissart’s Chronicles are a fun read.

Moderator’s note:

Per request by the OP, this is being moved on over to Cafe Society.

for the SDMB

French History?

Embracing Defeat, by John Dower.


Yeah, it’s not about France at all, but… come on… it’s PERFECT!